Chief Johnson suffered a fatal heart attack following a violent struggle with a suspect he had arrested for public intoxication. During the initial arrest a citizen had to stop to help Chief Johnson place the suspect into the patrol car. Once at the police station it took four officers to subdue the suspect and transport him into the station. Following the struggle Chief Johnson fell ill and was observed by a local doctor. He died two hours later.

Chief Johnson had been with the agency for 26 years and was survived by his wife and four children.