The man accused of shooting an 18-year-old in the chest during a "ghost gun" transaction is now in custody.
Emmanuel G. Johnson was arrested in Harvey, Illinois, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday. Johnson had been on the run since March 11, when he was charged via warrant with three felonies in connection with the shooting three days prior.
The victim, from Avon, Minnesota, had been trying to buy a "ghost gun" that morning from Johnson (who also goes by the nickname "Smurf"), the charges state. A ghost gun is a firearm that is assembled from separate parts purchased online, and therefore not traceable the way a regular firearm is, authorities said.
The teen was in the back seat of a car, with Johnson in the front passenger seat and another defendant, Grant A. Monaghan, behind the wheel, according to the complaint. When the victim handed over $800 in cash for the firearm, Johnson used the .40 caliber weapon to shoot the teen in the chest at close range, prosecutors allege.
The bullet went through his chest and out his back, resulting in "significant" injuries the charges say. He was taken to North Memorial Hospital and underwent surgery, where the complaint says he remained "heavily sedated and intubated" a few days later. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office said he had been upgraded to stable condition.
Monaghan is accused of facilitating the would-be sale, not pulling the trigger. He turned himself into police three days after the shooting and offered his account of what happened, the complaint says.
Johnson, 21, is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery with a dangerous weapon, aiding and abetting second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, and possessing a firearm despite a previous violent crime conviction, according to Minnesota court records.
He also has active warrants from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, and is on probation.
He remains in Cook County, Illinois, awaiting extradition, the sheriff's office said.
Here's what the criminal charges allege happened:
A week or two before the shooting, Monaghan learned an acquaintance known as "Smurf" (Johnson) was trying to sell a "ghost gun." Monaghan agreed to help find a buyer in exchange for $100 from the sale. So he took a photo, posted it on Snapchat and connected with the victim.
Monaghan met Johnson in St. Cloud so they could drive to Avon for the meeting. When Johnson got in the car (a Malibu with Texas license plates), he racked the .40-caliber gun to load a round into the chamber, which Monaghan considered "out of the ordinary."
In Avon, the victim got in the back seat of the Malibu, on the passenger side behind Johnson while Monaghan remained in the driver's seat.
The victim handed Johnson $800 in cash for the firearm — at which point Johnson used it to shoot the victim in the chest. The victim ran out of the car, and Johnson yelled at Monaghan to drive.
They went back to St. Cloud and cleaned out the Malibu (with Johnson looking for the single casing), then hid the vehicle at an acquaintance's home. They also broke the phone used to communicate with the victim.
Investigators found surveillance video from the area where the shooting happened, with footage lining up with Monaghan's account. They also found a bullet path through the shoulder area of the front passenger seat of the car, consistent with firing toward the back seat.
They also uncovered cellphone and social media evidence showing the victim talking to Monaghan about the gun for sale and how he needed to get cash.