An Oregon man was arrested on Tuesday after he allegedly tried to pay a taxi driver at gunpoint with fake money before getting shot by his own weapon, police said.
The suspect was identified by police as Josiah Johnson and was transported to a local hospital for treatment and released that same night.
Johnson is currently being held at the Washington County Jail on charges that include first-degree robbery, fourth-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree, and menacing, according to the release.
Deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call on Tuesday shortly after midnight and found the 18-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left hip upon arrival, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The suspect has been accused of trying to pay the unidentified taxi driver with a fake $100 bill and after the driver realized the bill was fake, the two got into a struggle, the driver told police.
The cabbie said Johnson pointed a gun to the back of his head and started yelling words he himself didn’t understand upon realizing the money was fraudulent and he didn’t want to accept it.
While Johnson was allegedly yelling at the driver, he saw an opening to grab the gun from Johnson and the two got into the altercation, he told police. During the struggle, the firearm discharged and hit Johnson in the left hip.
“A struggle occurred over the gun, and during the struggle, the gun discharged—striking Mr. Johnson,” the sheriff’s office wrote in the release. “The bullet entered Mr. Johnson’s left hip and exited out his left buttocks.”
After the firearm discharged, Johnson continued to struggle with the cab driver and they both exited the vehicle, police said. The taxi driver then managed to take control of the gun and threw it out of the reach of Johnson, as well as himself, and yelled to nearby residents for help.
People living close to the incident heard the shouts for aid and came to check what was happening. They then reportedly helped the driver by holding the suspect down until the police arrived.
Investigators haven’t clarified at the time who fired the firearm during their struggle. It is also unclear whether Johnson has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The taxi driver reportedly picked up Johnson in Gresham, a city located in Multnomah County, Oregon, and asked him for a distant trip to the Aloha area—about a 30-mile ride—prior to the shooting incident.
The driver told police due to the travel distance, Johnson voluntarily gave his cell phone as a pre-payment or collateral, which might have fueled the altercation after he didn’t return the phone to Johnson trying to pay with fake money.