Blount shooting suspect exhibits mental distress during initial court appearance

Published: Aug. 9, 2019 at 7:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The alleged circumstances surrounding the shooting at Blount Elementary School are as difficult as it comes. Gunfire in close proximity to children - allegedly by a man in deep mental distress.

Isaiah Johnson, Jr., 38, the person police say opened fire in the carpool line at Blount Elementary on Thursday, is charged with shooting into an occupied car and certain persons forbidden to have a firearm for bringing a gun on school property. Investigators say the shooting was triggered by a road rage incident. No one was injured, however dozens of children witnessed the shooting.

Isaiah Johnson Jr.
Isaiah Johnson Jr.(Source: Montgomery County Detention Facility)

Johnson did not make bond following his arrest and appeared before a judge on Friday for first call.

During his appearance, it was difficult to imagine the same person drove his children to school the day before. Johnson told the judge his wife died three weeks ago, Friday would have been her birthday and he needed to see his boys. During the hearing he exhibited nearly every range of emotion from anguish to agitation. At one point, he attempted to fire his attorney.

District Judge Tiffany McCord instructed Johnson to pull himself together multiple times.

“The way you’ve acted in my courtroom, you’re not stable,” McCord said.

The state argued for the total bond to be increased to $100,000 due to extraordinary circumstances and requested the judge order a mental evaluation.

Following the alleged road rage incident, the prosecutor stated a parent pulled into Johnnie Carr Middle School to drop off their child. Meantime, Johnson parked his car at Blount Elementary and walked over to the other campus to confront that parent with a gun in hand. Following the incident, the victim dropped off their student and pulled over to Blount, parked in the school’s carpool line, and walked down to Johnson’s car to take a picture. That’s when the prosecutor said Johnson allegedly pulled out the gun and fired on the victim, putting a shot through his car door.

During the course of the hearing Johnson became ill and fell to his knees. Multiple deputies picked him up and took him out of the courtroom in a wheelchair. Judge McCord revoked Johnson’s bond pending a mental evaluation, giving attorneys until Monday to respond and make arrangements.

Late Friday afternoon the defense filed a response to the state’s requests, agreeing to a mental evaluation at the V.A. Hospital, where Johnson would be treated and stabilized. The defense strongly opposed a bond increase. No ruling has been handed down on this motion.

Friends tell WSFA 12 News Johnson is a professional and holds down a full-time job. He is a member of the Air Force Reserve and suffered from PTSD prior to the loss of his wife.

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