Man sentenced to 123 years for car chase and hostage standoff commits suicide in prison

Man sentenced to 123 years for car chase and hostage standoff, commits suicide in prison; Photo courtesy of Baltimore Police Department

BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) -- On Wednesday, the City of Baltimore State's Attorney's Office said George Johnson, 28, who was sentenced to 123 years in prison for multiple charges, committed suicide at the Jessup Correctional Institution.

On Friday night, Johnson was found unresponsive on the floor in his cell when the prison guard were doing cell checks. He died from asphyxiation from hanging himself.

The City of Baltimore State's Attorney's Office said Johnson was convicted on four counts of false imprisonment, four counts of reckless endangerment, and fleeing/eluding an accident after holding four hostages captive at gunpoint for several hours in 2016.

Assistant State's Attorney Stacie Sawyer prosecuted the case in which Johnson was charged with taking hostages, reckless endangerment, firearm violations and auto theft in a 2016 incident in Southwest Baltimore, according to City of Baltimore Police.

In July 2016, an officer on routine patrol on 3400 Calloway Avenue recognized a reported gold GMC Yukon. That same vehicle was wanted in reference to a rape that had occurred the day before.

The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over and the driver was positively identified as George Johnson, who was wanted in connection to the alleged rape.

Johnson sped off and a chase ensued for approximately 25 minutes. As he approached the intersection at North Monroe and Washington Boulevard, Johnson struck a black Honda Accord.

The woman driving the vehicle was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where she was treated and later released.

After the accident, Johnson armed with a handgunfled from police on foot into a nearby fast food restaurant. Johnson entered the establishment, displaying his handgun and forcing three employees and a seven-year-old girl into the manager's office where he held them hostage.

Police were able to persuade Johnson to free his hostages. After several hours, one of three employees was released. As communication continued, a second hostage was released. At that point, hostage negotiations had lasted for roughly five hours.

Police say Johnson made one hostage toss his gun out of the drive-through window before he walked out of the restaurant with the remaining two hostages all with their hands in the air. Police recovered Johnson's loaded semi-automatic handgun outside.

Johnson was transported to BPD headquarters, where he admitted to fleeing from the police because he had a gun in his car. He also admitted to causing the collision in the aforementioned intersection and holding the four hostages captive inside the restaurant.

"This summer day in 2016 is one that many of us will never forget because the reality of being in a fast food restaurant grabbing a bite to eat and unfortunately becoming a hostage became a reality for our neighbors," said State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby. "I'm thankful for the police on the scene that day who were able to convince the defendant to end the hostage situation and release everyone unharmed. I pray that the victims in this case will be able to heal from the emotional scars caused by such a traumatic experience."

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