Man charged in deadly Minneapolis mass shooting takes stand; argues self-defense

A Hennepin County jury must decide whether a deadly mass shooting outside a downtown Minneapolis nightclub was a justified case of self-defense.

That is what the accused gunman, Jawan Carroll is arguing, that he only opened fire in a large, downtown crowd to protect himself from an armed rival who threatened to kill him.

Carroll took the witness stand in his own defense on Tuesday morning. He testified for two hours including a fiery, combative cross-examination from prosecutor Joshua Larson.

Carroll is facing nine counts of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the May 2021 shooting outside the Monarch nightclub.

Two people were killed, and more than half a dozen were injured in a barrage of gunfire.

One of those gunned down was Charlie Johnson, a University of Saint Thomas college student, innocently struck in the back by a stray bullet a block away, while out celebrating graduation weekend.

The second man killed was the other gunman, Christopher Jones. Carroll admitted exchanging gunfire with Jones. Carroll testified he knew Jones from past experiences, knew him to be a danger, and on the night of the shooting, Carroll insisted, he could see Jones was armed and threatening to kill him. 

After Carroll’s buddy punched Jones in the face, Carroll testified Jones went for his gun and Carroll went for his .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

"He withdrew the gun. I withdrew. And he tried to take aim, and I was just a second quicker," Carroll told the jury. "It was just seconds to decide a life and death situation."

Carroll’s defense attorney Bruce Rivers asked him if he started the fight.

"No, not at all. I actually tried to avoid it," responded Carroll, who had a group of family and supporters in the courtroom for his testimony.

Prosecutors contend Carroll and his buddies were the aggressors, arguing they could have easily fled the scene without provoking Jones and resorting to deadly gun violence. 

The jury has access to surveillance video that captured what happened along the sidewalk outside the Monarch at bar close time, with the city streets bustling when the gunfire exploded. Both sides broke the video down frame-by-frame for the jurors during the closing arguments that followed Carroll’s make-or-break testimony. Jurors received the case at the very end of court proceedings Tuesday afternoon. They are expected to begin their deliberations Wednesday morning.

Stick with FOX 9 as we track all of the latest developments straight through the verdict.