St. Paul man kills woman at home where son was shot days earlier: Charges

A 40-year-old man faces felony charges for allegedly shooting a woman in the face in her St. Paul home earlier this month. 

Curtrez Darale Johnson, 40, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in connection to the death of Lashonda Nix, 40, who was found fatally shot on Dec. 19 in her St. Paul house, where Johnson's son was previously shot just days earlier. 

According to charging documents, officers responded to the report of a shooting on Dec. 19 on the 600 block of Cook Avenue East and found Nix with a gunshot wound by the front door. Police said Nix did not have a pulse, and medics pronounced her dead at the scene. 

A teenager in the home, identified as JD, told police he believed Johnson was responsible for the shooting. JD said he looked outside the window after hearing the gunshot and saw a person dressed in all black get into a white Tahoe that he had seen Johnson driving in the past. 

Officers found a set of footprints in the freshly fallen snow walking away from the house door, which stopped near a set of tire tracks, the complaint states.

According to charging documents, JD said Johnson was upset because his 18-year-old son, identified as JJ, was shot in the face at the same address on Cook Avenue just six days prior. Police said they responded to a report of the shooting on Dec. 13, and JJ was transported to the hospital and remains hospitalized as of Thursday. 

Police say JJ has refused to talk with investigators about the shooting, and the incident remains under investigation, according to the complaint. 

Since the shooting, JD allegedly told police Johnson had been showing up at the house and had knocked on the door a few days earlier, but his mother told him not to answer it. The door leading to the porch had been locked, so Johnson could not enter the house. 

On the night of the shooting, a 19-year-old identified in the complaint as AJ, allegedly told police he was upstairs when he heard three loud knocks on the interior front door. After more knocks, Nix peeked through the curtain, and AJ said he heard a gunshot and saw his mother fall to the floor. 

Police said the first door had not been locked, so Johnson could get on the porch. There was a bullet hole in the interior glass window, but not on the black curtain, so it’s likely she was shot when she looked to see who was at the door. 

Prosecutors say Johnson’s cellphone data show he was in the area when Nix was shot, and surveillance video captured the white Tahoe around the same time. He was taken into custody.

Johnson allegedly told investigators he drove past the house where his son was shot every day and would sometimes knock on the door and talk to the young men in the home, but other times nobody would answer.

He claims he "just wants to know what happened to his son," and if he were going to retaliate, it would "be against the person who did something to JJ," the complaint reads. During the interview, Johnson denied killing Nix. 

Johnson made his first appearance in Ramsey County court Thursday morning, and the judge set his bail at $3 million. If Johnson is found guilty, he faces up to 40 years behind bars, according to court documents. 

Prosecutors say Johnson has five prior felony convictions, including criminal damage to property in the first degree, domestic assault by strangulation, two domestic assaults, and assault in the third degree.