Story highlights

NEW: Officer Bryan Johnson, 24, is charged with misleading a criminal investigation and 3 other charges

NEW: A police sergeant says he's standing by his friend, who he doesn't think is "a bad person"

The Massachusetts officer allegedly fabricated a story about his patrol car being shot

CNN —  

A part-time Massachusetts police officer lied when he said somebody shot at his patrol car, causing it to crash and catch fire, a police sergeant said Thursday.

“We have determined that the officer’s story was fabricated,” said Mills, Massachusetts, police Sgt. William Dwyer. “Specifically that he fired shots at his own cruiser as part of a plan to concoct a story that he was fired upon.”

The officer in question is 24-year-old Bryan Johnson. He is facing charges of misleading a criminal investigation, communicating false information to emergency services, malicious destruction of property over $250 and unlawful discharge of a firearm, according to Mills police.

According to Dwyer, Johnson was a dispatcher who worked part-time and was training to become a full-time officer. He will be fired, the sergeant said.

CNN’s efforts to contact Johnson for comment on the charges and allegations have been unsuccessful.

As to his possible motive, authorities haven’t said why.

On Wednesday, Johnson reported that a man in a dark pickup truck shot at him, causing his patrol car to spin around, strike a tree and catch fire. The officer said he shot back.

Police conducted an intensive search with members of other law enforcement agencies, firefighters, police dogs and a Massachusetts State Police helicopter.

Also on Wednesday, somebody made a threatening call to a local middle school. Schools in the town of 8,000 people, located about 25 miles southwest of Boston, were locked down for the day and closed all day Thursday. Police don’t know if that threat and the cruiser incident are related.

Dwyer, speaking to CNN affiliate WCVB from outside Johnson’s home, said he’s not abandoning his friend.

“I’m not willing to separate myself from him or join maybe some of the people who feel that he’s a bad person,” the police sergeant said.