2 in custody after fatal shooting in Bemidji

(From left): Janelle and Austin Johnson. Photo: Courtesy of the Beltrami County Jail. (From left): Janelle and Austin Johnson.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: December 28, 2020 12:03 PM
Created: December 28, 2020 11:21 AM

Two people are in custody stemming from a fatal shooting that happened on Christmas Day in northern Minnesota.

According to the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, on Saturday at about 12:11 a.m., the Beltrami County Dispatch Center received a call from 36-year-old Janelle Johnson, of Bemidji, reporting that about an hour earlier, she and her husband, 36-year-old Austin Johnson, had traveled to her brother-in-law's home to confront him over alleged domestic abuse incidents between him and Janelle's sister. The house is located on the 5000 block of Lavinia Road Northeast in Northern Township, Bemidji.

Janelle Johnson told police that a verbal argument ensued, which escalated to a physical confrontation. At one point, Janelle Johnson allegedly revealed a firearm that Austin Johnson had brought with him to the residence and shot her brother-in-law, later identified as 48-year-old Jesse Farris.

They then left the residence and later reported the incident to police, according to a release.

Deputies responded to the home and found Farris dead outside the residence. Results from a preliminary autopsy completed by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Janelle Johnson is currently being held at Beltrami County Jail under a charge of second-degree murder. Austin Johnson is currently being held as well under a charge of aiding an offender.

Both are expected to be arraigned in Beltrami County District Court on Tuesday.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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