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Eyewitness to Middlefield police shooting speaks

11:02 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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MIDDLEFIELD -- On Sunday March 10, Frederick Johnson was on his way to visit his grandmother at her nursing home along North State Avenue in Middlefield.

"It was a beautiful day," he recalled. "I saw a routine traffic stop and didn't think anything of it until the guy jumped out of the car and started shooting."

Suddenly, Johnson's white sedan was caught in the crossfire of James Gilkerson, 42, and two Middlefield police officers.  

"Just how loud it was it was jarring," he described.  "The first thing I thought about was one, I was in shock for a moment, then I said 'let me get out of the way.'"

In an exclusive interview with Channel 3's A.J. Ross, Johnson watched the chilling dash cam video for the first time.

"In that state of mind, you can't say what someone is going to do," said Johnson. 

"Once he started to swing away from his car, you know, obviously, the cops are returning fire and I just didn't want to get hit."

Johnson says his instincts kicked in and he quickly backed away from the scene until the gunfire ceased.

"At that point, my car was basically parked at the crime scene, so I did move my car up and asked the officer was he ok, and just high on emotion about what happened...he didn't even hear me," he described.

A photographer by trade, Johnson's next impulse was to snap pictures of the scene. In both photos, you can see Gilkerson lying on the ground as police call for back up.

"There was one gentleman actually in a van in front of me who pulled over and provided some assistance to the officer who was shot in the hand," said Johnson. 

 "I feel really bad for, particularly, the officers that they were injured and they had to suffer through something like that."

WKYC-TV

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