Chief Art Acevedo and family of victims respond to rock throwing arrest
There’s been a major break in a case that has been plaguing Austin roadways for nearly two years. Austin Police believe they've arrested the man who is responsible for the majority of rock-throwing cases along I-35.
APD said they arrested 59-year-old Patrick Eugene Johnson, a former tow truck driver.
Chief Art Acevedo of APD had a message for the victims, “We are confident that Mr. Johnson not only attacked you, not only assaulted you, not only tried to kill some of you, but we are confident that after committing his crimes, these vicious cowardly crimes, turned back and came back to the scene. Came back to the scene acting as a good Samaritan, acting as if he was a witness, acting as if he cared, I am here to say that he didn't care.”
Chief Acevedo said there’s a chance Johnson came back and tried to help his alleged victims. He’s hoping those victims will come forward to help in the case against Johnson.
Johnson has been charged with Attempted Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
His bail has been set at $250,000 cash only bond, but Chief Acevedo said that isn't enough.
"We've had three individuals out of that 94 series of cases that have were significantly injured, but for the grace of God they were not killed by Mr. Johnson and his conduct, his deadly conduct, so this police department believes strongly that we will be able to make cases of Attempted Murder against Mr. Johnson in the near future."
Something Barbara Goodwin supports.
“It's attempted murder, he almost killed Kenneth,” she said. Her son Kenneth Johnson was seriously hurt in one of the incidents. “He's a sick person, that's all I can say. Hopefully this guy will go to prison for a long long time, I mean we can only go forward,” Goodwin said.
Chief Acevedo said finding Johnson has been like looking for a needle in a haystack. But they were able to piece together a pattern of Johnson reporting the crimes himself to 911.
“They actually have talked to mathematicians to look at the probability of seeing lightning strike in front of them, immediately in front of them under these circumstances, it was very very low.” A major break came in the case because of dashcam video that was caught by a UTPD officer.
On May 14th, the officer was a victim of a rock throwing incident. Police said Johnson's vehicle was seen in that video and was the only possible source at the time for the rock throwing.
Chief Acevedo said while they have the one person they believe is responsible for most of the cases, it isn't quite over yet. They may have copycats, but he says rest assured, they will get them too.
“We're not going to stop. Mr. Johnson is probably going to spend the rest of his life in prison by the time we are done with him, and if you want to end up being a cell mate a block mate, go ahead and continue with your copycat,” he said.