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Cuyahoga County grand jury declines to indict DEA agent for shooting Cleveland man in 2021

The special agent had been facing a possible two-count indictment for felonious assault in the shooting of 21-year-old Trayvon Johnson.

CLEVELAND — A grand jury in Cuyahoga County has declined to indict a DEA special agent for the 2021 shooting of 21-year-old Trayvon Johnson in Cleveland. 

The special agent, whose name was not released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, had been facing a possible two count indictment for felonious assault. 

The incident occurred near the area of East 82nd Street and Decker Avenue on April 14, 2021. According to a release from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, the DEA special agent was conducting surveillance from his undercover vehicle when Johnson arrived home. Johnson approached the DEA agent's car and appeared to alter the clothing around his waist where he was carrying a gun. The agent fired his weapon, wounding Johnson in the waist. Another gun was recovered at the scene. 

You can watch video of the incident in the player above.

Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin told reporters after the incident that plain clothes DEA agents were inside a car carrying out an unspecified operation when two "unrelated" people approached one of the agents while "brandishing a weapon." Martin said the agent "felt threatened" and "gunfire was exchanged."

Martin told reporters officers on scene "immediately" rendered first aid to Johnson before he was taken to University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

"As soon as he pulled up and got out, they shot him," Johnson's mother Diana said, adding her son was coming back from the store. "My son [was] getting out of the black car that he got dropped off in, and then he started walking towards their car and he didn't have [anything] in his hand. I saw him running on the camera, dodging at him. They were shooting at him."

Court documents obtained by 3News days after the shooting showed that Johnson "brandished a firearm by lifting his shirt with his left hand displaying a black and silver firearm which was in the his front waistband, as he walked directly toward the white SUV" in which the DEA agent was sitting in.

Johnson spoke to 3News two weeks after the incident. "I’m happy to be alive and happy to see my family," he said. "It’s a miracle for me to be here. My family tells me this every time they see me. I wasn’t doing nothing wrong. I was on my way home."

“Not once did the officer identify himself as an officer," Johnson's attorney Stanley Jackson added. "He didn’t even speak to Trayvon when he exited the car and started shooting at him. He did not identify himself as an officer as they fled into the house. He didn’t say anything about being an officer or give any commands.”

3News' Ryan Haidet, Tyler Carey, Hope Sloop and Marisa Saenz contributed to this story