Injured Battle Creek officer testifies at shooting suspect’s hearing

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time in public, a Battle Creek police officer who was shot multiple times took to the stand on Friday to explain what happened to him.

Officer Jeffrey Johnson testified at a preliminary hearing for Andre Yarbrough, the man accused of firing the shots in the early morning hours of Nov. 30 at a home on Cherry Street in Battle Creek.

(A Dec. 20, 2019 photo shows shooting suspect Andre Yarbrough in court.)

“I remember seeing a flash and I felt extreme pain in my left leg and dropped to the ground immediately,” Johnson said.

Johnson was brought into court in a wheelchair and used crutches to approach the stand. That’s where he identified Yarbrough as the man who he says pulled the trigger.

Johnson said he approached the home on Cherry Street because Yarbrough had outstanding warrants and officers heard he was living there.

The suspect’s girlfriend, Heather Arredondo, is also facing charges. She is accused of assaulting a police office, harboring a felon and obstruction of justice. Johnson said Arredondo interfered in Yarbrough’s arrest and he had to push her back several times.

(A Dec. 20, 2019 photo shows Heather Arredondo in court.)

Johnson testified that Arredondo answered the front door when he first arrived at the home. She claimed Yarbrough was not there, but Johnson said he saw Yarbrough through a back window.

Johnson said that after more than 30 minutes had passed, the two came out the back door.

“I could see the shadows and heard them coming towards the driveway,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he was trying to arrest Yarborough when Arredondo grabbed him and he had to push her away several times.

“I saw Andre begin to stand up from where he was,” Johnson testified. “He stood over me and (pointed) the gun down. At that time, I was trying to get my gun out as he fired several more rounds down toward me.”

Yarbrough got away but was later arrested at an apartment later that afternoon.

Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Matthew Berry says Arredondo later spoke to him in a police interview room at the Battle Creek Police Department.

“She said that she was trying to get Andre off of the officer, said she just wanted him to go to jail peacefully,” Berry said.

The judge found there was enough evidence to send the cases to trial. The hearings have yet to be scheduled.

Johnson says it could take up to a year for him to return to work because his injuries are so severe.

“They put a metal rod through my femur from just above my knee to just below my hip and pinned it in with four pins,” he said.

Johnson was also shot in the wrist and his bulletproof vest, which prevented the bullet from going into his lung.