Man charged in connection to fatal St. Paul shooting that occurred after vehicle crash

Updated: September 10, 2019 06:27 PM

A 27-year-old man has been charged in connection to a fatal shooting that occurred in St. Paul following a vehicle crash Monday night, according to court records.

A criminal complaint states Lionel Keejuan Eaton faces one count of second-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder. 


According to the complaint, officers were called just before 10 p.m. to the intersection of Case Avenue and Edgerton Street in St. Paul on the report of a crash involving multiple vehicles. During the call, the dispatcher heard multiple gunshots and that a man was said to be on the ground. 

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When police arrived, they heard several more gunshots and saw multiple people running from the intersection. The complaint said the witnesses pointed to a black Ford Escape as the source of where the shots originated. Police said they saw one person -- later identified as Eaton -- inside of the vehicle. Officers were later able to take Eaton into custody. 

Officers also observed a man lying on the ground behind the vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. On Tuesday, the St. Paul Police Department identified the man as 31-year-old Javier Yanez.

According to the complaint, multiple witnesses told investigators they had approached the Ford Escape to make sure the driver was OK. While they were at the vehicle, they heard a number of gunshots. 

One witness, identified as Maya Thompson, told KSTP Tuesday she went to the vehicle with Yanez to help.

"I ran out to see if anybody needed help. At that point, my husband and another good Samaritan ran out," Thompson said. "As we got to the vehicle, we couldn't find anybody that needed help. We went to the car, and then all of a sudden shots rang out."

Thompson said it took her a second to process what had happened and then realized Yanez had been hit by a bullet. 

The complaint said Eaton's mother later arrived at the scene and said that her son had been acting erratic and paranoid, saying that someone had been trying to kill him. She said she was concerned Eaton was having a mental health crisis. 

During an interview with police, Eaton said he was driving the Ford Escape when he was rammed by another car, according to the complaint. The complaint goes on to say he had hit his head and thought he had heard gunshots. 

"He said that he was panicked and scared for his life, and so he shot from inside the vehicle out," the complaint reads. 

If found guilty, Eaton could face up to 65 years in prison. 

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