The Pierce County medical examiner has not determined whether a man accused of assaulting his exwife late Tuesday died from a self-inflicted gunshot or from three rounds fired into his vehicle by a Lakewood police officer.
Daniell Johnson’s exwife called police to her home in the 20 block of Rips Lane Southwest about 10 p.m. to report that Johnson had punched and strangled her during an argument about their strained relationship.
After seeing marks on the 37-year-old woman’s face and neck, police put out a bulletin asking patrol officers to be on the lookout for Johnson and his white Nissan Altima.
The couple’s three sons – ages 13, 12 and 4 – were at home but were not injured.
Johnson called the woman’s cell phone while officers were taking her statement, and she handed it to one of them. Johnson allegedly told police he was nearby, but when he was told officers needed to speak with him, he muttered, “It doesn’t matter” two times before hanging up.
A half hour later, police spotted Johnson’s car approaching his ex-wife’s house and stopped him.
“As soon as the vehicle stopped, there was a shot fired,” said Lt. Chris Lawler.
Police believe the shot was self-inflicted and that he was not firing at officers.