No charges will be filed in the fatal Aug. 5 shooting of an Aldie man by a Loudoun deputy, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
The Virginia State Police investigated the shooting. In the case, Deputy Jorge Zavala responded to a 5 a.m. 911 call from a Carriage Horse Drive home. The call was made by the sister of Johannes Wood, who she said had become violent while in withdraw of alcohol. She was locked in a room and reported being afraid her 58-year-old brother had a knife. Zavala approached the home and had an exchange with Wood, who reportedly held two knives and a pair of scissors, before fatally shooting him once in the chest, according to the report.
Zavala was not equipped with a TASER, but had requested another deputy respond with one. Also, he carried a body microphone, which recorded the encounter, including the deputy’s repeated orders to drop the weapons before the shot was fired. The recording showed that the encounter lasted about one minute.
A deputy had been called to the home about 20 hours earlier when Wood called 911. Deputy Kenneth Foster found him to be delusional, believing someone was trying to communicate with him through a body part and to harm him. Wood declined Foster’s recommendation that he be transported to a hospital and Wood’s sister said she would care for him.
She awoke the next night to find her brother in a rage, breaking furniture and yelling. After he grabbed her hair and hit her, she hid in a locked room and called 911 hoping to have him treated at a mental hospital. She then heard the deputy yelling and then the shot being fired.
Virginia State Police agents and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office discussed the incident in detail with Wood’s family members before releasing the investigation report.
“Mr. Wood’s actions and his failure to respond to Deputy Zavala created a situation that constituted an imminent danger to Deputy Zavala,” the report by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann concluded. “More specifically, Mr. Wood’s refusing to drop the knives and scissors, stabbing the walls while heading in the direction of his sister’s room, and then turning and walking directly toward Deputy Zavala with the knives and scissors in his hands presented Deputy Zavala with an immediate and real threat to his safety as well as the safety of [Wood’s sister]. These actions as captured on the body microphone, and as described by Deputy Zavala and [Wood’s sister] clearly were of such a character as to afford a reasonable ground in the Deputy’s mind that there was a design to do bodily harm or kill and that there was an imminent danger of his carrying such design into immediate action.”