Charges from Mpls. ambush: 'I wanted to hurt some cops'

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 23, 2012 - 9:09 PM

Despite her stab wounds, one officer gave first aid to assailant, according to an attorney.

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A Minneapolis park police officer was stabbed near this pedestrian bridge over Minnehaha Creek in south Minneapolis Tuesday night.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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"I wanted to hurt some cops" is the explanation a 38-year-old man gave for luring Minneapolis park police officers to a supposed robbery near Minnehaha Creek and then stabbing both of them before one shot and wounded the assailant, according to charges filed Thursday.

Officer James Huber shot Marsenior P. Johnson on Tuesday night as he stood over officer Katherine Hammes and was poised to stab her again with the 4- to 5-inch blade, according to the charges. Huber shot Johnson three times and "incapacitated him," the charges said.

Johnson, of Minneapolis, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with ambush of the officers at W. Minnehaha Parkway and Bryant Avenue S.

"These officers reacted swiftly and courageously, and we are extremely grateful they were not more seriously injured or killed," Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Jayne Miller said in a statement. "I commend these officers and our entire police department for their dedication and commitment to the park system and the community."

Attorney Fred Bruno, who will represent Huber as the officer goes through routine hearings over his use of deadly force, said the officer shot Johnson from close range.

"He saved his partner's life," said Bruno. After the shooting, Hammes administered aid to the suspect, he said.

"She didn't even know she was stabbed," he said. "She was giving the bad guy life support ... trying to keep the bad guy alive, and she's bleeding from her head and shoulder."

According to the criminal complaint:

Johnson called police about 11:30 p.m. to say knife-wielding robbers had taken $300 from him. The officers arrived and saw Johnson favoring his right side. He pointed east and told police that the perpetrators were three males.

Johnson had his right hand in his pocket and began walking toward Huber, who ordered the man to show his hands. Johnson refused and continued toward the officer, prompting Huber to push him.

Johnson removed his hand from his pocket and stabbed Huber in the chest, but the officer's protective vest stopped the knife. Johnson then ran at Hammes, who was standing near the squad car. She ducked but was stabbed in the back of the neck. Hammes fell, her head hitting the ground.

Just as Johnson was about to stab her again, Huber shot him. Johnson dropped the knife and crumpled to the ground, bleeding.

Along with the stab wound, Hammes suffered a concussion and a large cut from her fall. Huber's vest spared him serious injury or death, said police Sgt. William Palmer. The officers are at home and on standard paid administrative leave.

Johnson, whose criminal history includes convictions for domestic assault and theft, remains in custody at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he is being treated for the gunshot wounds.

Questioned at the hospital by police, Johnson admitted, "I wanted to hurt some cops," according to the criminal complaint.

Hammes has been a park police officer since 2008, and Huber since 2004.

Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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