An officer accused of fabricating a claim that a gunman fired at his cruiser before it crashed into a tree and caught on fire has been terminated.
Millis police Sgt. William Dwyer said the only ballistics evidence recovered at the scene of the crash Wednesday afternoon was from shots fired by the 24-year-old officer, Bryan Johnson, into his own cruiser.
“We have determined that the officer’s story was fabricated, specifically that he fired shots at his own cruiser as part of a plan to concoct a story that he was fired upon,” said Dwyer.
After several interviews with Johnson and examining the evidence, police determined that his story that a man in a pickup truck had fired at his cruiser was untrue, Dwyer said at a news conference.
“The evidence indicates that shots were not fired by a suspect and there is no gunman at large in or around the town,” Dwyer said.
A motive for the fabrication wasn’t immediately clear.
“I know there is something wrong. He was a good police officer, he was a good person, he was a good dispatcher. He was a person I thought would’ve been an excellent police officer,” said Dwyer. “Something did go wrong and probably in later days we will know exactly what that is.”
Police said they weren’t sure if the officer set his cruiser on fire.
Video obtained by NewsCenter 5 shows Johnson being praised by Millis selectmen for tutoring a middle school student who needed help.
In the video Johnson is asked how the student was doing after being tutored, and he responds that he’s doing well.
“Terrific,” the selectman says. “Just an example of your commitment to the town.”
Johnson will be charged in Wrentham District Court with misleading a criminal investigation, communicating false information, unlawful discharge of a firearm and malicious destruction of property when he is released from Norwood Hospital.
“He will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Dwyer said.
Johnson, who was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation Friday, was hired in June as a part-time officer and was scheduled to begin training soon as a full-time officer.
After the shooting was reported, people were asked to remain inside for several hours as police, including SWAT team officers, scoured the wooded neighborhood along the Charles River for the reported gunman. Schools were closed Thursday as a precaution.