BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The man Battle Creek police believe shot one of their officer’s multiple times was in court Monday for minor charges but will be back Tuesday and is expected to be charged with attempted murder, a life offense.
In 14 hours of searching, between the time the officer was shot and the time a K-9 pulled the suspect out of a closet, police say it was the community that kept them on his trail.
Monday, Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker had good news about Officer Jeffrey Johnson.
“Within the last hour, he has been released from the hospital and he is headed home,” Blocker told reporters at a 3:30 p.m. press conference
But while Officer Jeffrey Johnson is home, his recovery will be a long road, the chief said.
“I can also tell you it was an intensely traumatic event for him, his family, for all those that were there and that’s going to take a little longer,” Blocker said.
Police arrived around 1:15 a.m. Saturday to a home on Cherry Street where officers heard a screaming child.
“It wasn’t a specific 911 call at all — it was an officer being smart and doing their job,” Blocker said.
Andre Yarborough was spotted in the house and he had several warrants. None of the warrants were for anything that would put him in prison. Many were for failure to appear in court and friend of the court, though he was facing assault charges.
Yarborough was arraigned on several of those charges by a district court magistrate judge, who sentenced him to time served and fines of a few hundred dollars.
“It was because of this — I don’t think that was there — that threat maybe, that threshold wasn’t really there, so I think the officer felt comfortable to take someone off the streets that had multiple warrants,” Blocker said.
Yarborough refused to come out of the home initially but made a break for it through the backyard with Johnson in pursuit. Johnson was then struck once in the leg and then again in the wrist, which was likely a defensive wound that lodged in the chest area of his bulletproof vest.
Johnson allegedly told investigators that the shooter had stood over him delivering the second shot.
“Having that vest is one thing that saved his life, but having the tourniquet and knowing how to apply it also saved his life,” Blocker said.
It would be 4:20 p.m. Saturday when Yarborough was found in a closet at the River apartment complex, thanks to a tip from a community member.
“We said to the community, ‘we’re going to need your help’ and the community was out in full force Saturday and we very much appreciate that help,” Blocker said.
After a police dog dragged Yarborough out of the closet, lightly injuring the suspect, officers used Johnson’s handcuffs to restrain the suspect.
“It’s an act that we do and I think it keeps us focused on what’s important here and that is justice and I felt like that was a little bit of justice necessary,” Blocker said.
Block says there will likely be others charged in this incident who helped or concealed Yarborough.
Yarborough will be arraigned Tuesday on the attempted murder charge and gun charges as a repeat offender. He faces a sentence of 25 years to life, if convicted.