Family of intruder shot and killed in Mpls break-in questions narrative, seeks transparency

Martin Lee Johnson’s loved ones and supporters gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center Tuesday with two objectives: to question the narrative of how the 30-year-old father of two was shot to death in self-defense over a garage break-in, and to demand charges against the Minneapolis homeowner who allegedly pulled the trigger.

"All I know is there is nothing in my garage worth somebody’s life, especially not my cousin’s," Jason Leibel, Johnson’s cousin, told FOX 9. "What we’re dealing with today is someone made the decision to use a gun instead of a phone."

Johnson was killed two weeks ago on Feb. 22 around 8:30 p.m. on a snowy night outside a home on 25th Avenue South in Minneapolis. 

Since then his family is calling for justice and transparency, while questioning the narrative their loved one was killed in an act of self-defense

"We’re fair people. Once we get the information, we can decide if it was just or not from our point of view," said Macey Wheeler, Johnson’s aunt. "We don't have it. The police have everything and an investigation needs to take place to give us our information that we as a family deserve… Bottom line, if you were breaking in the garage, he should still be alive."

Tuesday loved ones and supporters gathered for a vigil in the neighborhood where the deadly encounter unfolded.

A publicly filed search warrant revealed the 53-year-old, long-time, female homeowner fired four warning shots into the air with a handgun after Johnson allegedly broke into her detached garage.

But when he advanced and appeared to reach into his waistband, she shot him with a rifle.

So far, she has not been arrested.

On Monday the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office "deferred" a charging decision, sending the case back to the Minneapolis Police Department for further investigation. 

While the family has said they feel for the homeowner, they want accountability – believing one potential scenario is Johnson might have been looking for some form of shelter, and did not pose a threat to either the woman or her adult son who were both inside the home.