DA calls officer a hero in fatal shooting outside school

DA calls officer a hero in fatal shooting outside school

EUGENE, Ore. - Finding himself struggling with an armed man in the parking lot outside Churchill High School, Officer Aaron Johns fired his gun 5 times.

Christopher Lee Koziatek, 44, died at the scene.

The decision to use deadly force last night was the right one, said Alex Gardner, the Lane County district attorney.

Gardner said Johns was justified in using deadly force and called the school resource officer a hero.

Lane County on Thursday released the outcome of the Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team's probe into the shooting. State law requires any use of potentially deadly force to be investigated and reviewed by the district attorney.

Police Chief Pete Kerns said Johns would likely return to Churchill High School after the winter break. He said Johns was placed on paid leave and required to undergo counseling, which is protocol when officers are involved in a shooting.

Johns stopped Koziatek as he rode a red Honda mini-bike down Bailey Hill Road in the bike lane without a helmet on November 20, 2013.

Johns took a large knife and a hatchet off Koziatek's person before the man bolted towards Churchill High School, police said.

Johns tackled Koziatek and held the man at bay with a Taser. With the suspect on the ground, the officer called for emergency back-up and a lockdown of Churchill High School.

Then Koziatek got up and rushed Johns. The suspect had his gun drawn, and witnesses described seeing the two fighting or wrestling.

The officer managed to pull his gun and fire.