Lawmaker, accused of sexual misconduct, dies of gunshot wound: a ‘probable suicide’

December 14, 2017 - 12:08 PM
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Kentucky state Representative Dan Johnson (R-KY), who was facing sexual assault accusations, and died in a probable suicide on December 13, 2017, is shown in this December 15, 2016 handout photo in Frankfort, Kentucky. Photo Courtesy Kentucky Legislative Research Commission/Handout via REUTERS

Kentucky state Representative Dan Johnson, who was facing sexual assault accusations, died in a probable suicide on Wednesday, Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said.

Johnson, also the leader of the Louisville-area Heart of Fire Church, held a news conference on Tuesday at which he denied accusations contained in a report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The report accused Johnson of having molested a teenaged member of the church.

Johnson’s press conference was widely reported by local media.

On Wednesday evening, Johnson was found dead in a probable suicide from a single gunshot wound near Louisville, the coroner said, adding that an autopsy would be performed on Thursday.

Billings said law enforcement officials had been searching for Johnson after someone read a post on his Facebook page, became concerned and contacted police.

“Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson,” Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin wrote on Twitter. “My heart breaks for his family tonight … These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America … May God indeed shed His grace on us all … We sure need it…”