MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A 24-year-old St. Paul, Minnesota man has been charged in a shooting in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend that left two people dead and eight others injured.
Jawan Carroll is charged with two counts of second-degree murder for shooting and killing 21-year-old Charlie Johnson and 24-year-old Christopher Jones Jr. He is also charged with seven counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting and injuring other people in the area.
The shooting took place around 2 a.m. Saturday on the 300 block of North 1st Avenue outside the Monarch nightclub. Officers responded to the sound of numerous gunshots outside the nightclub. When they arrived, they found Jones lying unresponsive on the sidewalk near the entrance to the nightclub. He had been shot several times. He was declared dead at the scene.
Johnson was found lying unresponsive near the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street with a gunshot wound to his back. He was also declared dead at the scene. Officers also located several other victims who were injured in the gunfire while standing outside the nightclub. They were all treated for various gunshot wounds.
Monarch said in a statement the people responsible for the shooting had not been at the nightclub that night.
Confrontation escalates into gunfire
According to the charges, Carroll and several companions were standing on the sidewalk near the nightclub. Jones and several others approached and the two groups got into a verbal confrontation.
One of Carroll’s companions abruptly punched Jones in the head. Carroll then removed a firearm from his waistband and began shooting at Jones, in the direction of the crowd outside the nightclub, none of whom were involved in the fight.
The surveillance video shows the bystanders beginning to flee the area or duck for cover. Jones attempted to flee from Carroll, but the crowd blocked his path. Unable to escape, he turned, pulled out a handgun and fired back at Carroll.
The two men continued shooting at each other, with Carroll aiming north down the sidewalk at Jones and Jones firing back south at Carroll. Throughout the commotion of the gunfire, a crowd of people was still present.
Jones eventually dropped to the sidewalk, where he was later found dead. Carroll and his associates ran from the area.
While reviewing the surveillance video, officers immediately recognized Carroll from previous encounters. He is reportedly associated with a violent Minneapolis gang, according to the charges. He was arrested on Saturday afternoon.
UST student was innocent bystander, tried to flee shooting
Johnson, the other man killed in the shooting, was a University of St. Thomas mechanical engineering student who was set to graduate later that day. He was in downtown Minneapolis celebrating his college graduation with friends. He and a friend were trying to catch an Uber when they heard gunfire.
A witness who was with Johnson at the time of the shooting told police the two of them were walking through the area and were not involved with the activities outside Monarch, according to the charges. They had walked through an alley north of the nightclub and stepped out onto the sidewalk on First Avenue as the shooting started.
Johnson began running north down the sidewalk when he was shot in the back and eventually died on the corner of First Avenue and Third Street.
"Him and Charlie heard gunshots and they took off," friend Drew Malecek told FOX 9. "He just kind of turned around and Charlie fell. He saw some blood and just tried to be there for Charlie and hold him."
Malecek said he had just parted ways with Johnson at Cowboy Jack’s when he received the call that he had been shot.
"We were all just panicking and hyperventilating and crying and yelling," said Malecek.
Friends all describe Johnson as funny and full of life, saying he always treated others with kindness and was always making people laugh.
"Charlie was the most adventurous, creative, but also most hilarious person you would ever meet," said Malecek. "It’s a lot of tears. But then it kind of goes in waves. Then we’ll crack a bunch of Charlie jokes and then it comes back to tears."
Now, they hope Johnson’s death will lead to safety upgrades downtown.
"I love the Twin Cities. I think its awesome. But right now, its just not safe," he said. "No college kid should have to worry about celebrating in their city on their college graduation. Everyone should have that right."
Suspect has prior history of firing into a crowd
Prior charges in a case two years earlier allege Carroll opened fire outside Pizza Luce in downtown Minneapolis. In that incident, similar to Saturday’s shooting, an initial confrontation escalated into gunfire and an innocent bystander was injured.
Carroll will make his first court appearance on the latest charges at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. His bail has been set at $1 million.