- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Police have two problems connecting the shooting death of Metro Transit Police Officer Marlon Francisco Morales to the man they have in custody: They don't have a murder weapon or a witness to the shooting.
The only evidence they have tying Walter O. Johnson to the June 10 shooting is the officer's gun, which police say was found on Mr. Johnson when he was arrested in Philadelphia last week.
But Metropolitan Police Department detectives believe if they can track Mr. Johnson's movements they can directly tie him to the fatal shooting without a witness.
"We have him there before the shooting and with the gun afterwards — hopefully, that will be enough," a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said. "We'll have to see."
Police also believe they can find the handgun used in the shooting if they are able to track Mr. Johnson's movements.
"The gun is out there. We'll find it," the police source said.
D.C. detectives, who are being assisted by the FBI and Metro Transit Police, are trying to find out why Mr. Johnson was in the District when he was stopped by Officer Morales at the U Street/African-American Civil War Museum/Cardozo Metrorail station. They want to know where he went after the shooting and who saw him in the District and in Philadelphia before his arrest.
Officer Morales was shot in the Green Line Metro station about 9:13 p.m. June 10 when he tried to cite a man for evading the fare. The station manager had stopped the man at the 13th Street exit and was arguing with him for refusing to pay; Officer Morales stepped in, and the station manager left for the bathroom. While Officer Morales was asking the man for identification, the man pulled out a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Morales in the face.
After the shooting, Officer Morales fell behind the kiosk and the gunman pulled the officer's handgun from the holster and extra ammunition from his belt. He then turned and ran through the station and left through the 10th Street exit.
A cheap, foreign-made 9 mm cartridge was found near the fallen officer. Police thought Officer Morales would survive since he was still coherent enough to write some unreadable notes, but he died after surgery a few days later.
"There is no one who saw this. It is too bad those cameras didn't record," a law enforcement source familiar with the case said, referring to the video cameras inside the Metro station. The images captured by the cameras are transmitted to monitors inside the station kiosk and are not recorded.
Although no one saw the shooting, the station manager got a good look at the man whom Officer Morales had stopped and was able to identify Mr. Johnson, a 33-year-old Philadelphia man who had just been released from prison.
Mr. Johnson was formally charged Friday in Philadelphia with first-degree murder. He was originally held on assault and receiving stolen property charges for resisting arrest and for having Officer Morales' gun, which the suspect said someone had given to him.
An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in Philadelphia to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold him on the murder charges, said Monty Wilkinson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. An extradition hearing is scheduled afterward.
Mr. Johnson was arrested in the Olney section of northern Philadelphia after being stopped for having a missing inspection sticker, police said. When the officers approached him, he reached into his pants to pull out a gun, they said, but the police prevented him from drawing the weapon.
After he was arrested, the gun was identified as the one issued to Officer Morales, police said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide