PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Department of Public Safety Trooper George Cervantes was afraid the man behind the wheel of the Toyota Prius was going to kick him backwards into traffic. Moments later, the trooper says the man tried to pull him into the vehicle, to potentially grab his service revolver.
That is the narrative Cervantes told a Phoenix Police detective, who was investigating the trooper-involved shooting, which occurred on the side of the Loop 101, near Hayden on May 25.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety is now saying it is still in the middle of its internal investigation regarding the trooper who shot and killed Dion Johnson.
The Phoenix Police Department released its report into the shooting on Wednesday, already having submitted a copy to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review. The report makes no recommendation for or against charging Cervantes in the shooting.
The shooting victim, 28-year-old Dion Johnson, was reportedly passed out in the driver's seat of the car.
This is what the police report states Cervantes observed when he approached the vehicle:
"A strong odor of alcohol and observed beer cans inside the passenger compartment ... as Trooper Cervantes continued to survey the interior of the vehicle, he observed the key was in the ignition and a large frame semi-automatic handgun was on the passenger seat."
Cervantes said he removed the weapon, but was unable to get the keys out of the ignition. He said he decided to wait for backup, but noticed that Johnson was beginning to move. That's when he said he decided he needed to take the driver into custody.
Drivers on the Loop 101 called 911 and later described what they saw.
"The trooper was at the door of the stopped vehicle, fighting with the driver. (The witness') impression was that the trooper was trying to remove the driver from the vehicle," read the police report.
"He definitely needs help," said another witness to a 911 operator.
The police report states that Cervantes fired two shots. One of them struck Johnson in the abdomen. Cervantes was not wearing a body camera at the time.
Johnson died at a hospital a short time later. He was a convicted felon, having served time in prison for armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft.
In addition to the .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun Cervantes said he removed from Johnson's vehicle, investigators say they found ammunition in the back seat. Johnson would likely have been a prohibited possessor of firearms as a result of his felony convictions.
According to the police report, Johnson had meth, fentanyl and THC in his system at the time of his death.