Minneapolis man charged with murder in daylight shooting

Friday, December 21, 2018

A Minneapolis man was charged with second-degree murder in a daylight shooting in a Minneapolis alley, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

Tyree Terrell Johnson, 27, was charged with killing 54-year-old Darren Watkins of Laplace, La. Prosecutors are seeking a bail of $1 million.

About 11 a.m. on Oct. 28, Watkins was shot several times in the alley behind 5227 James Avenue North. Paramedics pronounced Watkins dead at the scene and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Watkins was shot twice in his left arm, once to the chest and once to his hip, according to the criminal complaint.

Among other things found by investigators was an automatic lock/unlock button from a vehicle door panel. A witness also reported seeing a man driving a black car in the southbound end of the alley. Surveillance video showed it was a black, four-door Volkswagen Passat, the complaint states.

The recovered 9 mm discharged cartridge casings in the alley appeared to have been fired from the same gun used during a shooting in front of a McDonald’s restaurant the day before. In that case, a man got into a fight with several other men. After, he called Johnson, who lived about five blocks north of the restaurant. Minutes later, a surveillance camera showed the other man get into the passenger side of a black Volkswagen Passat. They drove to within a block of the McDonald’s, the man got out of the passenger side, walked to the parking lot, fired numerous shots at a minivan and then jumped back into the Passat, according to the complaint.

On Oct. 31, police stopped the Passat and again the McDonald’s shooter was in the passenger seat and Johnson was driving. Johnson said the car belonged to his wife, the complaint states. They also noticed that the front passenger door was missing an automatic lock/unlock button similar to the one found in the alley.

Police seized Johnson’s cell phone and geographic data associated with it placed Johnson within 30 meters of where Watkins’ body was found. Surveillance video also shows the black Passat traveling from Johnson’s home towards the murder scene between 10:24 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to the complaint. It shows only one person in the car.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)