Patrolman John E. Johnson

Patrolman John E. Johnson

Holliston Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Thursday, August 13, 1981

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John E. Johnson

Patrolman Johnny Johnson was shot and killed with his own service weapon after stopping a stolen vehicle at 10:50 pm.

Patrolman Johnson was on patrol when he observed the vehicle. He began following the vehicle and was waiting for backup before attempting to stop the vehicle. The driver of the car suddenly pulled into a parking lot and stopped the car on Route 16 west of the Route 126 intersection, forcing Patrolman Johnson to initiate a felony traffic stop before his backup arrived. When he ordered both occupants out of the vehicle, the passenger fled on foot. Patrolman Johnson stayed with the driver, who then also attempted to flee.

Patrolman Johnson was able to catch one of the suspects, but during the ensuing struggle, the man was able to gain control of his service weapon and shot him. The suspect then shot him twice more as he lay on the ground. He died from his wounds during surgery at Framingham Union Hospital.

The 22-year-old shooter, who had outstanding warrants for assault and battery and armed robbery, was apprehended three hours later following a massive manhunt. Patrolman Johnson's service weapon was never located. Patrolman Johnson's killer was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life. He was denied parole for the fourth time in April of 2009. He will be eligible for parole again in April 2014.

Patrolman Johnson was a United States Air Force veteran and had served with the Holliston Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Car 5
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, August 12, 1981
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

stolen vehicle, warrant, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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It has been so many, many years ago,John, but I still think of you on that devastating, horrific night. I fondly remember the party at my house the weekend before. We laughed and sang— lots of fun; you were wearing red plaid slacks—-I remember! The long blue line in front
of my home seemed to go on forever the day of your funeral. Rest well John.
Until we meet again.

Elizabeth Warshaw, friend and neighbor&q
neighbor and friend from Holliston

December 14, 2023

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