Man arrested in January shooting reacts to his charges being dropped

A man arrested for a January shooting outside Pub 217 in Cedar Rapids says he is blessed to have all of his charges be dropped. 

Michael Hodges Jr. was facing charges of Attempt to Commit Murder, Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury and Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon. 

Hodges was accused of shooting Zevon Johnson in the chest according to court documents.

The documents say Johnson also shot at Hodges, but missed entirely. 

Hodges had a permit to carry his gun and he turned himself into police according to court records. 

The documents say Hodges and Johnson fired their guns "practically simultaneously" but Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter disagreed. 

Just one day after a judge blocked Hodges attempt to use the stand your ground law as immunity in the case, Slaughter recommended all of the charges against Hodges be dropped. 

She tells KWWL "Stand your ground and the justification defense are not one in the same. After sitting down and thoroughly reviewing the evidence, especially the video, I believe the defendant was justified in drawing his weapon and shooting, and I believe that a jury would have found Hodges to be justified in response to the threat that Johnson posed. I watched the video of the incident numerous times, fast forwarding, rewinding, pausing, slowing down, and it was clear that Johnson was the primary aggressor, and that Hodges only drew his weapon, which was licensed, in response to Johnson drawing his."

Slaughter went on the say, "I know it has been said the shooting was simultaneous, and yes, the entire incident happened in a split second. However, my opinion of the incident was that Johnson drew his weapon first and fired the first shot."

Ultimately a judge took Slaughter’s recommendation and dropped all the charges against Hodges in the case. 

Hodges tells KWWL, “I am blessed by the grace of God. I only defended my life, which I have a right to do. I feel race was a factor in how the legal situation played out. The video evidence has been present since the time of the incident. They (Police and County Attorneys) were wrong and I thank God for bringing the truth to light. God Bless."

Johnson still faces charges in the case so Cedar Rapids Police have not yet released the surveillance video of the incident which is pending litigation. 

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