Planned robbery sees three shot, crime scene spanning multiple blocks: charges

A Minneapolis man will face charges for his alleged involvement in a planned robbery and shooting that left two people dead across a two-block crime scene on Lake Street.

According to police, on April 12, 2021, officers responded to the scenes of two homicides and a non-lethal shooting of a third victim – all of which occurred in a two-block area of 14th Avenue South between Lake Street and 28th Avenue South in Minneapolis.

A police investigation determined that Jovan Joshua Knight, 20, intentionally participated in an aggravated robbery with others while in possession of a gun, according to a criminal complaint. 

During the robbery, one victim was shot in the leg, and two others were shot and killed.

Knight is charged by warrant with second-degree murder and three counts of first-degree aggravated robbery.

Planned robbery 

According to the surviving victim, he and three friends ate dinner that evening in Minneapolis.

At around 2:21 a.m., two people in the group, including himself, parked their vehicles on 14th Avenue South, just north of Lake Street, and rode with one another to the restaurant.

After leaving the restaurant, they drove back to retrieve their cars. As they turned off Lake Street, heading north on 14th Avenue South, they passed two vehicles idling side-by-side and drove around them.

When they arrived at the victim’s car in front of 2926 14th Ave S, the two vehicles they previously drove past pulled up at a high rate of speed, according to the police complaint.

One of the cars stopped directly in front of the vehicle they were in, and the other stopped directly behind them - effectively blocking them in, the complaint says.

A group of at least four people exited the two vehicles armed with guns and wearing masks. The group ordered the victim and his friends out of the car and demanded their phones and wallets, with one of the suspects pointing a gun at his head, according to the victim.

He handed over his phone and wallet, but when he went to stand up, he was shot in the leg. 

After the first gunshot, the victim told police that the suspects "seemed confused" and that "everyone started to run – suspects and victims." He limped away and was able to hide, reportedly hearing multiple gunshots in the meantime.

About a block north on 14th Avenue South, in front of 2839 14th Ave S, police later located the body of an adult male victim that had been shot in the chest and was dead on arrival - marking a second victim stemming from the robbery attempt. 

One block north of where the second victim was found, investigators also located a significant car crash. The crash involved two vehicles, one of which belonged to the second shooting victim.

The investigation determined the vehicle was fleeing from the scene of the robbery when it ran through a stop sign, striking another in the intersection, and causing both to spin out of control onto the sidewalk.

In the back seat of the second gunshot victim’s vehicle, police found the body of a third gunshot victim - a juvenile suffering from wounds to the chest. He was later pronounced dead.

After the robbery

According to police, Knight made multiple statements that implicated himself upon questioning, including admitting that he and several others were in Minneapolis that night for the purpose of robbing and stealing. 

He allegedly admitted that he was armed with a gun, and so was an accomplice who was killed in an unrelated shooting several months later. 

However, he claims that he stood by as his accomplices robbed the men and was only armed with a gun to provide security for them.

Knight said that when the victim’s resisted the robbery attempt, he heard three gunshots, and he saw that one member of their group had been shot. He allegedly admitted that the passenger in the second car was shot and killed during the course of the robbery attempt.

The group put him in their vehicle and sped away from the scene when the accident occurred one block later.

Knight claims he saw the driver of the other vehicle involved in the car crash running toward them, and that another accomplice then fired multiple times at the driver of that car. Knight said he then ran away, cutting through yards and jumping fences, and called for a ride several blocks later.

Knight has two previous first-degree burglary charges, one closed and one still under court jurisdiction, stemming from 2021.