On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Berks County District Attorney Detectives responded to the City of Reading to investigate a death investigation involving a Reading Police Officer. The response by the County Detectives was pursuant to District Attorney, John T. Adams, protocol to have an independent investigative agency investigate fatalities involving police officers.
At approximately 1:48 p.m., Reading Police Officers responded to two 911 phone calls relative to a domestic dispute in the 700 block of Pear Street. The calls reported a female getting beaten up.
Upon arrival, the Reading Police Officer met with the victim of the domestic violence dispute. The thirty-one (31) year old female reported that her boyfriend assaulted her and then he ran into the residence upon police arrival. The victim had visible bruises on one of her legs and redness to the side of her face.
It was reported by a witness that the victim yelled out her window "call the cops, he is going to kill me in here". The victim later reported during a recorded police interview that "that man tried to kill me."
The Reading Police Officer located the suspect (the victim's boyfriend) in an alley aside of 720 Pear Street. The Reading Police Officer attempted to apprehend the suspect and place the suspect under arrest. The suspect resisted the officer and a struggle ensued.
At some point during the struggle, the Reading Police Officer deployed his department-issued Taser, striking the suspect and causing him to fall to the ground. Officers contacted Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to respond to the scene immediately.
While officers were waiting for the arrival of EMS, they performed CPR on the suspect who was in some sort of distress and unresponsive. Subsequently, EMS arrived and transported the suspect to the Reading Hospital and Medical Center.
At approximately 2:46 p.m., an Emergency Room Physician at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center pronounced the male deceased.
Police identified the deceased as Kenneth Johnson, age 25.
The autopsy was held at 8:00 p.m. on April 12, 2017.
This is an ongoing investigation and more details will be released as it continues.