Indictment: Former DPS trooper fired gun near homes while chasing suspect in 2018

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An indictment obtained by KXAN Monday alleges a former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper shot in the direction of homes when chasing a suspect and gave a false statement about the two-year-old incident.

Austin Johnston was indicted in late August on seven counts, including aggravated assault by a public servant, deadly conduct with a firearm and tampering with physical evidence.

According to an arrest affidavit, in September 2018, Johnston shot Dustin Dougherty after Dougherty rammed his patrol vehicle during a chase. After his vehicle was hit, Johnston fired his gun at Dougherty as Dougherty ran away. Johnston hit Dougherty in the back, and Dougherty was found hiding later, the affidavit said.

The indictment said Johnston knowingly shot in the direction of residences, where people could’ve been inside, when trying to pursue Dougherty on foot at least four different times.

The indictment also alleges Johnston wrote a false statement claiming Dougherty was armed while the use of force investigation was going on in order “to affect the course and outcome of the investigation and official proceeding.”

Johnston was previously cleared for the incident by multiple agencies before the case was brought in front of a grand jury.

Dougherty pleaded guilty to aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony. He was sentenced to six years in prison, court records show. 

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