Ex-officer in Massachusetts indicted for fabrications found dead at his home
MILLIS >> A former police officer fired and indicted for fabricating a story about a shootout with a mystery gunman in September and calling in a fake bomb threat to the high school was found dead at his home on Thanksgiving.
Bryan Johnson, 24, was pronounced dead early Thursday, the Norfolk district attorney's office said in a statement.
Police said they were called to the home around 3:30 a.m. by another resident of the house who found Johnson unresponsive. They said no signs of foul play were found at the scene, and the death was not being investigated as a homicide.
Authorities said an autopsy would be performed.
A grand jury had indicted Johnson on Nov. 19 on a charge of willful communication of a bomb threat to a school, making a false police report, malicious destruction of property and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He had pleaded not guilty in district court and was free on bail.
The district attorney's office said that in light of his death, it no longer would pursue the case. Johnson faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the school bomb threat alone.
Johnson had said a man in a pickup fired at his cruiser on Sept. 2. He said he returned fire, crashed into a tree and his SUV caught fire. His claims prompted a search by dozens of SWAT team members and other officers, a shelter-in-place order for residents and a school lockdown.
An investigation determined his account was a hoax and that Johnson had used his 9mm handgun to shoot at his vehicle. He later told investigators he blacked out.
He underwent a psychiatric evaluation after his version of what happened was determined to have been a fabrication.
Johnson, a part-time officer, subsequently was fired.
He had been promoted from dispatcher to part-time officer last year and was scheduled to start training as a full-time officer for the town of about 8,000 residents on the Charles River, about 25 miles southwest of Boston.
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