July 18, 2018

The 26-year-old New Virginia man who was shot and killed by a Panora police officer this month was “going crazy” and charged at the officer with a large knife down an apartment hallway, the Guthrie County attorney said in her written statement Tuesday that the shooting was justified.

Officer Rock Armstrong shot Joshua Reed three times in the chest as Reed ran at him with a knife with an 8-inch blade.

“Officer Armstrong was not only justified in using deadly force in this situation, but he could well have been criticized had he not,” County Attorney Mary Benton wrote. “This case wasn’t even close.”

A friend of Reed who lives at the apartment building at 502 W. Market St. called 911 about 7:15 p.m. and said that Reed had threatened him and a neighbor with a knife and added that Reed was “going crazy,” according to Benton’s statement.

Armstrong, a policeman of 18 years who had just started his patrol that night, responded to the report and tried to coax Reed from an apartment to have a conversation.

According to witnesses, Reed made several menacing statements from behind the apartment door, including: “You better have your gun drawn when I open this door because I have a knife, and I’m man enough to use ’em so you better be man enough to pull that trigger on me” and “If you don’t shoot me, I’ll get to the next guy.”

The officer reportedly edged down the hallway away from the apartment door, which Reed later opened, threw another knife to the ground and ran toward the officer while screaming.

“Armstrong, who had drawn his weapon as the threats continued, then fired upon Reed as he charged at him down the hallway,” Benton wrote. “He fired three quick successive rounds from his gun and Reed fell forward to the ground.”

Reed died there despite efforts to revive him.

His friend said that the day before the shooting “Reed said he wanted to jump off the freeway bridge into traffic” and that “he just wanted to kill himself,” Benton wrote.