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Woman arrested after threatening coworkers, store with a rifle, a knife, and a torch

Ebonice Johnson

Ebonice Johnson

A Prescott woman is facing attempted homicide and arson charges after she returned to work following a dispute armed with a knife, a rifle and a torch.

Around 6:28 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, Prescott police responded to the Wal-Mart store at 3050 Highway 69 in Prescott, after the manager of the store called 9-1-1 to report a disorderly woman in the parking lot with a rifle.

Officers found 24-year-old Ebonice Johnson, Prescott, near the back of the store and took her into custody without incident.

Near Johnson was a .22 rifle, which she told officers she had intended to use.

According to the PPD’s press release, Johnson was an employee of the store. She

had been involved in a verbal altercation with several co-workers during their shift earlier that morning.

Johnson addressed the issue with her manager and was unhappy with how the situation had been handled. She became angry and broke a cash register before leaving the store.

Johnson admitted she went to her home to retrieve a .22 caliber rifle, and ammo, along with a knife and a torch. Johnson used her computer to write a note indicating her intentions to kill her co-workers and die by forcing responding officers to shoot her. She texted family members to relay her intentions and drove back to the store.

Johnson arrived back at the store at approximately 6:24 a.m. and parked directly in front of the doors on the east side of the building. She left her vehicle and retrieved the rifle.

A customer observed Johnson with the rifle and reported that to the store manager who contacted police.

Johnson was unable to load the weapon and walked to the east side of the building to continue trying to load the weapon. When she was unsuccessful getting the weapon to function, she intended to use a knife to carry out her plan. However, she dropped the knife and was unable to locate it in the dark. Ultimately, Johnson decided to use the torch she had brought with her to light the store on fire. A small pile of burnt items was located on the east side of the building, however the fire had extinguished itself before the officers arrived.

Detectives served a search warrant at Johnson's home and located evidence related to her intentions and plans to harm her co-workers. At this point it appears Johnson was motivated by her dissatisfaction at work and the investigation is not revealing any other cause for her extreme behavior. Johnson was booked into the Yavapai County Jail on charges including four counts of attempted homicide (pre-meditated), arson of an occupied structure, and weapons misconduct-all are felony charges.

Johnson lawfully purchased the rifle a year and a half ago and had no previous convictions related to weapons misconduct.

“This situation had the potential to end in terrible tragedy. Due to the awareness of a customer who immediately notified employees appropriate actions were taken to protect those inside the store. The immediate response of Prescott Police Officers allowed for the swift apprehension of Johnson who was intent on a violent end,” said Amy Bonney, Deputy Chief of Police.

The investigation is ongoing.

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