Fremont police say deadly shooting was justified, release footage

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Fremont police say deadly shooting was justified, release footage
Fremont police released body camera footage from deadly police shooting near Automall Parkway on Aug. 25.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- Fremont police released details and video Thursday from its investigation into a police shooting that ended in the death of a man wanted for shooting another man in the head.

Investigators have concluded it was a justified shooting.

"As you can see in the video, I'm confident that the officers acted in accordance with the law in our policy. So yeah, I think this is pretty clear that this was justified," Acting Chief Sean Washington of Fremont Police Department said at the press conference Thursday morning.

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Police identified the man who was shot and killed as 22-year-old Kevin Johnston of Hayward.

Johnston met the description of a man spotted leaving the scene of a shooting on Aug. 25 in Fremont. A resident provided police with video from a surveillance camera of what looks like Johnston, wearing a white t-shirt and a green backpack and walking with a limp.

Officer Jesse Hartman found him about 40 minutes later. The officer was not wearing his body camera because investigators say it was charging in his car. His police car camera captured the shooting but was not able to record sound. Police say Hartman made it clear he was with law enforcement.

"Officer Hartman activated his emergency lights and siren and exited his vehicle. Officer Hartman identified himself as a police officer," Washington said.

Police say Johnston pointed what they have identified as a ghost gun at Officer Hartman. They are still investigating whether Johnston fired a round at Officer Hartman.

Officer Hartman then shot Johnston, who died.

"This is another unfortunate reality of gun violence within our community. Our officers answered the call and responded to guard our community against an extremely dangerous individual causing harm," Acting Chief Washington said.

"I am sure Mr. Johnston has family who cared for him. And for that I offer my condolences. I also would like to recognize the fact that we have a community member who is still fighting to survive this horrific injury, which was caused by Mr. Johnston," the chief went on to say. "So our thoughts are also with the victim of this terrible crime. But also I'd like to recognize that this crime has also impacted our community. Now, I want to reassure the community that we will continue to do all we can to keep you safe. Lastly, I'd like to state how grateful I am that our officer was not injured or killed during this incident. Having over two decades of law enforcement experience as a police officer, I know officer involved shootings significantly impact involved officers, and the responding officers in our entire department."

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Officer Hartman has returned to active duty.

Police say once they identified Johnston, they discovered he was wanted on a $545,000 warrant, suspected of a number of crimes ranging from carjacking to possession of a controlled substance.

The victim in the shooting they were initially pursuing Johnston for is still in the hospital in critical condition. Police have not released the name of that 25-year-old man or the motive behind the shooting.

Washington said the department is in touch with Johnston's family but would not release any more information about surviving relatives.