JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Johnson City Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying people who allegedly fired “mortar” type explosives at officers on patrol over the Fourth of July weekend.
According to a release from JCPD, officers had been participating in a community relations event that was aimed at reducing fireworks and other explosive devices being set off in the West Davis Park area.
“While conducting vehicle, foot and bicycle patrols in this area, several large ‘mortar’ type explosive devices were intentionally thrown and launched at the officers and their vehicles,” according to the release.
Over the course of the two-day event, JCPD reports that officers received minor injuries and department vehicles were damaged.
Johnson City police officers and residents in the West Davis Park neighborhood want this trend to stop.
Residents told Pheben Kassahun they feel like a prisoner in their own home, every Fourth of July weekend.
“What I saw was a lot of teenager boys and a whole bunch of kids gaining up on police officers and other people,” Jessica Reyes said.
Jessica Reyes said she wants the madness to stop.
Reyes said, “They would throw them at houses. They hit one at my step-dad’s this year. They did it last year and the other three years.”
Johnson City police are still reveiwing dashcam video in order to gather leads on suspects involved.
Lieutenant Don Shepard said, “We want people to call in and give us some information. Identify some of these groups or some of these indivuduals.”
He said the issue has progressed over the last few years and wants to remind people that fireworks are illegal.
“When you have the surrounding counties outside of Johnson City that sell fireworks, of course it’s just a short trip there to go get them and bring them back in the the city. Possessing them in itself is illegal to have in Johnson City. It’s a violation of our city ordinance,” Lt. Shepard said.
The suspects could face a vandalism charge and possibly aggravated assault since officers were injured, according to Lt. Shepard.
JCPD is asking for assistance identifying anyone involved in the assaults and vandalisms.
Anyone with information is asked to call the criminal investigations division at 423-434-6166.