Ptlmn. Cassie Johnson laid to rest after hero’s funeral service
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Officer Cassie Johnson was honored, as the blue line from the capital city and beyond gathered Tuesday at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center during a Hero’s Funeral Service to memorialize her life and legacy.
Johnson, 28, was killed in the line of duty last week after responding to a traffic call on Garrison Avenue.
“We are here to celebrate the life of Patrolman Cassie Johnson and honor what she stood for,” Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said. “Patrolman Cassie Johnson had the perfect blend of a warrior’s mindset and a shepherd’s heart.”
Johnson’s fierce dedication to duty, along with her giving spirit and love of animals, came up frequently during the service.
Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin spoke of Johnson’s love of family and her “fur family.”
“They were the loves of her life,” Goodwin said of Johnson’s pets.
The mayor and others talked about Johnson’s professionalism, as well as the sensitive nature that made her a fine human being and police officer, often using words like “confident” and “gracious.”
“She helped so many, and she is loved by so many,” Goodwin said.
Charleston Police Lt. Autumn Davis spoke at length about the friendship she shared with Johnson, as well as the qualities that made Johnson such a fine police officer. Davis prefaced her speech with -- if her words seemed broken, it’s because her heart was broken.
Johnson had chosen to donate her organs, and a representative with the donor agency said Officer Johnson’s heart, lungs and other precious organs had already been shared with others in the selfless gift of life.
Officer Johnson’s funeral and procession also drew many from the community, including Joseph Hardin of Nitro.
“She won’t be forgotten,” Hardin said. “The officer’s sacrifice won’t be forgotten, the sacrifice the police officers every day that are out in a job that in many cases doesn’t pay well. It’s extremely dangerous. I’m sure quite often a thankless job, but there are those of us that do appreciate what they do and stand behind them.”
Johnson was buried at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Sissonville.
Officer Johnson died at 4 p.m. Thursday, about 48 hours after she was shot while responding to a call about a parking complaint on Garrison Avenue.
On Friday, WSAZ learned that the suspect, Joshua Phillips is now expected to be charged with first-degree murder, according to city officials. The Charleston Police Department is also exploring all avenues at the state and federal levels to possibly add additional charges.
Phillips is currently being treated at CAMC for injuries he sustained in the exchange of gunfire that killed Johnson.
Sheriff Mike Rutherford said the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation of the crime scene and will turn its findings over to the Charleston Police Department for official charges to be filed when Phillips is released from the hospital and can be arraigned.
To read more on our coverage of Officer Johnson, click here.
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