Tear gas ends standoff, man charged with sex assault, other offenses


LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Laurel County man is jailed on

Johnson is held after being arrested/Laurel County Sheriff’s Department

kidnapping, strangulation, sexual assault and other charges following a brief standoff Tuesday morning that ended when tear gas forced him out of his residence.

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According to Laurel County Sheriff John Root, 41-year-old Austin Johnson was arrested Tuesday morning following the incident at a home on Cold Hill Road about six miles west of London.

Laurel Sheriff’s Deputy James Fox and Deputy Justin Taylor were dispatched to a domestic violence complaint at the residence where a woman said she’d allegedly been physically assaulted by her boyfriend overnight and that he’d dragged her back into the home when she tried to leave and sexually assaulted her, the sheriff said.

At some point she locked herself in the bathroom and when she heard him elsewhere in the home, she escaped out a window. Deputies located her as her boyfriend, identified as Johnson, ran back inside and barricaded himself the house, Root stated.

The regional Special Response Team was called and a crisis negotiator tried unsuccessfully to get Johnson to come out, Root explained.

The special response team deployed gas causing the suspect to come out.

According to the sheriff, Johnson was charged with: strangulation – first-degree; assault 4th degree; wanton endangerment -1st degree; Unlawful imprisonment – first-degree; sodomy – first-degree – domestic violence; sexual abuse – first-degree.

The woman was treated at St. Joseph Hospital London.

“It was a great group effort which ended textbook perfect with no neighbors, bystanders,officers or the accused injured,” Root said.

Assisting for the Laurel County Sheriff’s office was: Detective Richard Dalrymple who led the regional special response team with team members: Sgt. John Inman, Deputy Josh Morgan, Detective Kyle Gray, Deputy Hunter Disney, Officer Shannon Jones, Officer Robbie Hodge, Officer Greg Rhodes, Officer Karl Middleton, and Officer Shay Helton. Agencies represented on the Southeast Regional Response Team include: Corbin P.D., Barbourville P.D., Mt. Vernon P.D., Williamsburg P.D., Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.. Also assisting for the Sheriff’s office was: Laurel County Sheriff John Root, Maj. Chuck Johnson, Capt. Robbie Grimes, Lieut. Chris Edwards, Sgt. Brett Reeves, Deputy Brent France, Deputy Brad Mink, Detective James Sizemore, Detective Bryon Lawson, Deputy Rodney VanZant, and Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.
Other agencies assisting at the scene and on the case included : London City Police, and Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County.