Suspect in Police Shooting Could Face Life Sentence

Sep 4, 2014

Rochester Police released this photo of the suspected shooter, Thomas Johnson III.
Credit Rochester Police Department

Rochester Police and the Monroe County District Attorney’s office released more details on the Wednesday’s fatal shooting of RPD Officer Daryl Pierson. The alleged shooter, Thomas Johnson III, is facing eight counts including aggravated murder. He’s currently at Strong Memorial Hospital under police guard. He was arraigned on those charges Thursday night in his hospital room and entered a not guilty plea.

Thomas is accused of firing  two shots from his .25 caliber handgun, one bullet being the fatal one that took Officer Pierson’s life, the other hitting Jamal Boller, an innocent bystander. Boller is expected to recover from his injury. Police say that Thomas tried to flee the scene after shooting Pierson and Boller but was shot and apprehended by Officer Michael DiPaola.

Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says Pierson never fired his weapon at Thomas Johnson.

"This is a day that no chief ever wants to face," says Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says about the tragic shooting death of one of their own. "Right now  my job is to focus on my job and lead this department. This wonderful department and these wonderful police officers. I'll get personal reflection time later."

Credit WXXI News

Thomas was on parole, has a history of run-ins with police and has an outstanding parole warrant. While in Florida, Thomas was charged with battery on a police officer. Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley says that if Thomas is convicted of every offense he’s charged with, he could face a life sentence without parole.

Officer Daryl Pierson's wife, Amy, sitting in between members of the Rochester Police Department.
Credit WXXI News

Pierson's widow, Amy, sat in the front row of the news briefing at the Public Safety Building detailing the events that lead to fatal shooting of her husband Daryl. 

"Mrs. Pierson my heart goes out to you and your family," says Doorley. "As you can see around this room you have a tremendous amount of family in law enforcement, and they will be with you to support you throughout this entire process."

Here is the timeline of Wednesday night’s incident from the Rochester Police Department: