Dispute over $20 leads to fatal shooting in Minneapolis: Charges

Criminal charges filed in Hennepin County court Tuesday allege a dispute over $20 led to the fatal shooting of a man at an encampment in Minneapolis last month. 

Prosecutors charged 38-year-old Kenneth Joel McKinnis with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Curtis Johnson on Sept. 26. 

According to court documents, Minneapolis police responded to a reported shooting at an encampment on 16th Avenue South near East 24th Street and found a man with a gunshot wound to the chest. The man, later identified as Johnson, was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. 

A witness at the scene told authorities McKinnis arrived at the encampment with a firearm in his waistband and started walking toward Johnson’s tent at the encampment. The witness claimed to hear arguing and Johnson saying, "Man please bro, don’t" followed by a gunshot, charges allege. 

Johnson left the tent and ran back to the pick-up truck, leaving the scene, charges explained. Authorities say the encounter was captured on surveillance video in the area. 

Law enforcement spoke to witnesses at the scene who said the day before the shooting, the pair were arguing over $20. The fight turned physical, and one witness claimed to hear McKinnis say if Johnson didn’t have his money when he came back, he would shoot him, charges allege. 

Law enforcement located the pick-up truck, which was reported stolen, at a parking lot in Brooklyn Center. Officers spoke with a man allegedly driving the truck the day of the shooting and claimed McKinnis asked for a ride to the encampment.

While McKinnis walked toward the tent, the driver claimed to stay in the truck, blasting music. McKinnis then came running back to the truck, and they left the area. The driver said he didn’t hear the shooting given the loud music but noticed McKinnis had a firearm when he drove him home, charges explained.  

McKinnis is in custody at Hennepin County Jail. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Oct. 25.