Minneapolis man charged with murder in October shooting

The scene of a fatal shooting on James Avenue in North Minneapolis. Photo: KSTP/Phil Thiesse
The scene of a fatal shooting on James Avenue in North Minneapolis.

December 21, 2018 06:35 PM

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

The criminal complaint states Tyree Terrell Johnson, 27, was charged with killing 54-year-old Darren Watkins of Laplace, Louisiana. Prosecutors are seeking bail of $1 million. 


According to the criminal complaint, at 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 in the chest and once in his hip. 

RELATED: Man killed in North Minneapolis alley shooting identified

Among other things found by investigators was an automatic lock/unlock button from a vehicle door panel. A witness reported to police seeing a man driving a black car in the southbound end of the alley. Surveillance video later 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 then 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. Police noticed 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 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. The video shows only one person in the car. 

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Tommy Wiita

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