Charges: Fatal shooting in Phillips neighborhood was over $20 debt

A shooting last month in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis that left a man dead stemmed from a dispute about a $20 debt, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged 38-year-old Kenneth Joel McKinnis with second-degree intentional murder on Tuesday for the killing of 37-year-old Curtis Leroy Johnson.

Minneapolis police say officers found Johnson suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest on the afternoon of Sept. 26. He died at a hospital.

Charging documents state that surveillance video in the area of 16th Avenue South and East 25th Street showed a stolen pickup truck arrived at the tent encampment just before the shooting. After the gunshot was heard, a man ran up to the truck, got in the back passenger seat and the truck took off.

Police found the truck abandoned in a store parking lot in Brooklyn Center the following day.

Investigators were able to identify two people who were in the truck on Sept. 26, and one of them told officers that McKinnis had called and asked for a ride to the encampment that day, the documents state. He added that McKinnis walked into one of the tents, then ran back a minute later and said something like, “Let’s go.”

While the man claimed he didn’t hear a gunshot because the music in the truck was loud, he added that he saw McKinnis take a gun from the seat and put it in his waistband when he got back to his home.

Court documents note that officers talked to at least four witnesses at the scene who all said that McKinnis and Johnson had gotten into a fight the day before because Johnson owed McKinnis $20 and didn’t have the money. Multiple witnesses added that they heard McKinnis tell Johnson that he’d come back the next day and shoot Johnson if he still didn’t have the money. Some also said they saw McKinnis running from the tent after the gunshot was fired.

McKinnis faces up to 40 years in prison. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.