Minneapolis police say they have arrested a suspect in the shooting of a 5-year-old girl, who relatives say was hit in the foot by a wayward bullet while she slept in her bed.
Marquell Deon Johnson, 27, has been charged with carrying out a drive-by shooting and with weapons possession. Police did not detail the circumstances of the arrest, which occurred a day after the shooting early Monday morning at a duplex in the 2100 block of N. 4th Street.
Online jail records show Johnson was booked on Tuesday and remains jailed on $150,000 bond. His initial court appearance is set for Friday afternoon.
According to charges, early on the morning of the shooting, Johnson drove past the duplex just north of the intersection of Interstate 94 and Broadway Avenue and opened fire, apparently targeting a rival who lived in the same building. Witnesses recalled hearing seven shots, at least some of which hit the lower unit where the girl lived with her family.
Charges say the girl’s mother told police she was driving to the gas station when she noticed an older black Honda Civic creeping past her duplex, and that she got a bad feeling when she recognized the driver as Johnson, who she knew to be acquainted with her upstairs neighbors. Minutes later, she heard gunshots and raced home to check on her daughter. Hospital staff told authorities that the bullet passed through the girl’s right foot, fracturing several bones, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.
An online fundraising page said that the girl, Jayda, was asleep in her bedroom when two of the bullets pierced her bedroom, with one round striking her foot and another flying inches from her head and lodging into a nearby wall. In a post on the page, her mother wrote that the family had temporarily moved into a hotel following the shooting and that she was seeking financial help for food and household items, as well as to buy Jayda a new bed and bedding.
Police were later led to Johnson after someone pointed out his Facebook page to them, and provided investigators with an alias he often used, the complaint said.
K.G. Wilson, a longtime anti-violence activist, said the arrest brought a measure of relief to Jayda’s mother, who had been trying to move out of the area before the shooting happened. He recalled a heartening moment during a TV interview days after the shooting, in which a reporter asked Jayda what, if given the chance, she would say to the alleged gunman.
“And her answer, in her sweetest little angel voice was, ‘I just want him to say he’s sorry,’ ” he said. “It was the most amazing response of peace and innocence — this child knows no violence, even though she was affected by violence.”
North Side shooting
In an unrelated incident, authorities on Thursday announced murder charges against two men in the July 19 slaying of Quay Felton, 16, who was gunned down on a North Side block.
One of the suspects, Shannon Blackman, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm. He remained in the county jail Thursday on $1 million bond. The other suspected shooter, a 20-year-old man, remains jailed without bond, but hasn’t been formally charged.
According to a criminal complaint, a witness picked Blackman out of a lineup, after telling police that they saw Blackman and the other suspect riding down North Colfax Avenue on their bikes. After shooting Felton, the suspects biked away almost “nonchalantly,” the witness reportedly told investigators.
At least part of the incident was captured on the dashboard camera of a vehicle parked on the street, police said.
Blackman is expected to make his initial court appearance on Friday.