Hostage-taker was on antidepressants, alcohol — (The Herald and News)

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The Herald and News

By Laura McVicker

April 22, 2007

A man who held a baby hostage in a downtown home Friday night apparently became erratic after he consumed a mixture of antidepressant medication and alcohol, authorities reported.

Jesse Lee Johnson, 27, was shot and killed by a Klamath Falls police officer after he told authorities he was on alcohol and methamphetamine and was ready to kill his girlfriend’s 11-month-old son, said Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb. It was unclear Saturday whether Johnson was on meth.

Investigators later discovered he took medication with alcohol right before the hostage situation.

Those who knew Johnson told investigators he had a history of delusional behavior after mixing the drugs.

The incident began between 6 and 7 p.m. when his girlfriend left the baby alone with Johnson. After leaving, she called him at their home at 109 Michigan Ave. She noticed he sounded delusional and aggressive over the phone, investigators said.

The baby’s grandmother heard about the situation and called 911 just before 7 p.m., and Klamath Falls police officers responded. They surrounded the home and attempted to negotiate with Johnson.

Investigators still don’t know what Johnson was hoping to accomplish by taking the baby hostage.

A police officer approached Johnson from behind after he walked outside the home while holding a knife to the boy’s throat. With his handgun, the officer fired one shot, hitting the back of Johnson’s head. The maneuver allowed the officer to get a clear shot without harming the baby, Caleb said.

Johnson died after being taken to Merle West Medical Center. The baby was taken into custody of the state’s Department of Human Services.