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Lakewood Police Call Fatal Shooting of Dentist Scott Johnson 'Justified'

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - Lakewood's police chief has informed his department that the deadly shooting of Scott Johnson last month outside the department's garage was "justified and in compliance with Lakewood Police Department policy and procedure." On Sept. 20, officers were called about a man with a gun outside their department at 445 South Allison Parkway. An off-duty police agent had reported the disturbance.

Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson, a dentist in Littleton, was shot and killed by Lakewood police on Sept. 20. (credit: CBS)

Police said the man -- later identified as Johnson, 57, a dentist in Littleton -- was arguing with a woman and the pair were involved in a physical struggle. Police shot Johnson and he later died.

Since the incident, police have released little information about what occurred. But in an email to his department dated from Oct. 4 and obtained by CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass, Lakewood Police Chief Daniel McCasky wrote, "the male refused to drop the handgun and raised the gun. Agents believed the subject was either going to shoot the female or police agents. He was subsequently shot by (an agent) after refusing commands to drop the weapon."

McCasky noted that only one agent shot Johnson and the chief wrote that Lakewood personnel "displayed incredible courage and professionalism in an extremely difficult situation."

"The subject's actions clearly endangered the lives of a citizen and LPD Agents," wrote McCasky. "All the Agents on scene… are to be commended for their actions."

The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is conducting a separate investigation to see if the use of deadly force was in compliance with Colorado state law. McCasky wrote that he did not know when that investigation would be completed.

According to Johnson's sister, Lynda Johnson, her brother had just been awarded a top dentist award from 5280 Magazine but died before he could learn of the award. Johnson's sister said he had taken several dentistry mission trips to Central and South America to do volunteer dentistry.

A photo of Scott Johnson's recent award for top dentistry from 5280 Magazine.

Dr. Johnson had a general and cosmetic dentistry practice in Littleton and had been practicing in the Denver and Littleton area for 24 years. In 2003, Rotary International awarded Johnson its "Service Above Self" award.

Johnson's coworker of 17 years, Brenda Norgren, told CBS4 Johnson's death is a "terrible loss to the dental community."

Lynda Johnson said her brother was arguing with his wife the night of his death. The couple had only been married about two months. She said the couple had dinner in Lakewood that night, and just happened to park their car near the police department.

"I do not blame the police at all," Lynda Johnson said.

CBS4 reporters Brian Maass and Kati Weis serve on the CBS4 Investigates team, uncovering fraud, waste, and corruption. Send them a news tip or follow them on Twitter @Briancbs4 and @KatiWeis.

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