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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, August 20, 2016 8:59 am

20-year-old charged with murder

Rebecca S. Green | The Journal Gazette

A 20-year-old Fort Wayne man is charged with murder in connection with a shooting a week ago that claimed the life of 19-year-old Leon-Dre Kyles-Thomas.

Late Friday afternoon, prosecutors charged Daquavion "Pooder" Johnson in Allen Superior Court with one count of murder and one count of carrying a handgun without a license. Prosecutors will also seek a sentence enhancement for the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in which death results.

Johnson, of the 3200 block of Oliver Street, is accused of shooting at a group of three men standing outside an apartment building in the 1300 block of Greene Street about 12:15 p.m. Aug. 13.

Witnesses told police Johnson got off his bicycle, pulled out a gun and started shooting at the three. A bullet struck Kyles-Thomas in the chest and he fell to the ground. When his friends rolled him over, they saw a hole in his chest, according to court documents.

The documents filed against Johnson outlined the importance of witness cooperation with law enforcement in bringing charges quickly. Cooperation with law enforcement has been a much-discussed issue in recent weeks, with activists decrying relatively few cases filed in open homicides, with police and prosecutors expressing frustration with an information vacuum as they try to figure out who did it.

On Aug. 13, police questioned a number of individuals, one of whom returned gunfire to Johnson, but not everyone identified Johnson as the shooter.

But on Monday, one of the witnesses contacted police, expressing that there had been a desire not to trust law enforcement earlier in the investigation. The witness identified Johnson from a photo array, wanting to "make it right by telling the truth."

Johnson’s mother told police that her son called her, saying he had been involved in the shooting. He said he hadn’t meant to shoot Kyles-Thomas, saying it wasn’t meant for him, according to court documents.

Johnson told his mother that he was afraid if he had turned away to avoid the situation, he would have been shot in the back, according to court documents.

He had not been arrested as of 5 p.m. Friday evening. The murder charge is his first felony case in Allen County.

rgreen@jg.net