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Man shot by police released from hospital to jail

UPDATED: Thu., June 21, 2012, 11:53 a.m.

A man who was shot by a Spokane police officer as he confronted another man with what turned out to be a BB gun has been arrested.

Jesse Hugh Johnson, 24, was booked into jail on a methamphetamine possession charge today after he was released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he’d been since early Sunday.

Officer Ron Van Tassel shot Johnson in his upper right leg after he responded to a report of a man firing a shotgun near North Napa Street and East Mission Avenue and spotted Johnson pointing a weapon at another man.

Johnson said in an interview Monday from his hospital bed that he intended to shoot the man with the BB gun because he believes the man stole two bicycles. But he said police overreacted when they shot him and should have known his weapon was only a BB gun.

He also said he never intended to report the thefts to police.

“Who am I to call the cops?” Maybe if I was a W-2-having citizen, but I’m not,” Johnson said, referring to tax return forms. “I’m not going to call the cops because I’m not a snitch. I can go and get my bikes back myself.”

Van Tassel, 31, has been a full-time officer with the Spokane Police Department since February 2006. He started as a reserve officer in 2003.

In addition to the drug charge, police are asking prosecutors to charge Johnson with fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, intimidation with a weapon and aiming or discharging a dangerous weapon.

The victim was Johnson’s former roommate, police said.

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