Battle Creek, MI – A Michigan couple will be going to trial for their roles in the attempted assassination of a Battle Creek police officer.
The accused gunman, 30-year-old Andre Yarbrough, already had three felony convictions when he allegedly attacked Battle Creek Police Officer Jeffrey Johnson on Nov. 30, WWMT reported.
“Unfortunately, it happened to him,” Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said of the 35-year-old wounded officer. “It could’ve happened to any one of us.”
Battle Creek police had received a tip that Yarbrough, who was wanted on multiple warrants, was residing at a residence on Cherry Street, so they headed that way in an attempt to apprehend him, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
Officers spotted Yarbrough through a window of the home and made contact with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Heather Arredondo, at the front door.
But Arredondo told the officers that the person inside wasn’t Yarbrough, then closed the door on them, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
As multiple other officers left the immediate area, Officer Johnson made his way over to a tree near a neighboring home and surveilled the suspect’s residence.
Arredondo and Yarbrough both came out the back door approximately 40 minutes later.
Officer Johnson said he ordered the suspect to stop, but he refused.
"He started running toward the back yard," Officer Johnson told Calhoun County District Judge Frank Line during a hearing on Dec. 20, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. "He got to the fence and that is when I grabbed a hold of him and we started fighting."
The officer was over the top of Yarbrough, who was on his hands and knees, when Arredondo attacked him from behind, he said.
She yelled at Officer Johnson to stop, then started shoving and hitting him.
“She was pushing me and hitting me and I stood up and pushed her back, telling her to get back and then I remember a flash and I had extreme pain in my left leg and I dropped to the ground,” Officer Johnson told the court.
Yarbrough had shot him in the leg, breaking his femur.
“I could feel my femur grinding on itself,” the officer recalled.
Yarbrough then got up, stood over the wounded officer, and fired multiple more rounds at him.
Officer Johnson said he was unable to unholster his duty weapon to return fire before he was shot in the left side of his chest and his wrist, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
"I took a round to the vest in the left chest and one through the wrist," he told the court. "I assume I had my hand up while I was laying down. It would appear I had my hand up as he was shooting downward."
Yarbrough took off on foot, but spun around to fire at officer Johnson once more.
Officer Johnson fired multiple rounds at his attacker before the gunman disappeared from sight.
Arredondo and her two children also fled the area, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Officer Johnson was rushed to the hospital by two officers who also applied a tourniquet to his wounded leg.
It wasn’t until he arrived at the hospital that the officer realized he’d been shot in the chest.
The bullet was stopped by his ballistic vest.
Chief Blocker said that Officer Johnson went above and beyond the call of duty that night to apprehend a violent repeat offender.
"No one ordered him to stay there. No one told him he had to remain out in the cold, on foot, and wait for this suspect, which he assumed, and correctly, that he would leave the home soon," Chief Blocker told WWMT. "That was his beat. And it was important for him to remove that bad element from his neighborhood, and he did it.”
Officer Johnson, who now has a metal rod in his leg, used a wheelchair and crutches to navigate through the courtroom on Dec. 20, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
His recovery is expected to take as long as a year.
Officer Johnson and his fiancé have a blended family of five children, as well as a newborn baby daughter, according to a fundraising page established to help the family in the wake of the shooting.
Yarbrough was later arrested for charges of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, resisting police causing serious impairment, and assault with intent to murder, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
Due to his prior three felony convictions, he could face multiple life sentences if he is convicted of the new charges against him, according to WWMT.
It wasn’t the first time Officer Johnson dealt with the convicted felon. Yarbrough was also convicted of obstructing a resisting Officer Johnson during a prior encounter.
Arredondo was arrested for obstruction of justice, harboring a felon, and resisting police causing serious impairment, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
She faces up to 15 years in prison if she is convicted.
Line ordered that the cases against both suspects be sent to circuit court, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.