ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – One suspect is dead, and his alleged accomplice in hospitalized and facing charges after an apparent home invasion backfired on them. Two people inside the home had guns of their own.
Police and prosecutors are not saying if the attack on Newport Avenue was random or if the specific house was targeted, but the man who shot the two men tells FOX2 he doesn’t know who they are.
It was about 11pm Monday when a 17-year-old girl who lives in the home was getting something from her car. Two men, both with guns, grabbed her. They began to push her back into the home with a gun to her head. Her father, who says he was visiting the girl and her mother, saw the gunmen and pulled his own weapon. He says he had no choice but to fire.
“He was holding her hostage. She was a human shield. So I did what I had to do.”
Asked how he had the confidence to pull the trigger when the man was holding his daughter that way, he said, “It wasn’t like that. It just happened. I didn’t have no choice. He had my daughter so I did what I had to do.”
The father asked that we not use his name.
The man he shot and killed was Terrell Johnson, 31, of St. Louis. The second suspect, who the father says was wearing a mask, is Cortez McClinton, 33, also of St. Louis.
The bullets didn’t just hit the two men. Another one went all the way across the street, into the home of Jessica Swartz.
“I was freaked out. For lack of a better word, yeah, scared,” she said. “Just laying in bed watching TV getting ready to go to sleep. Then I hear the gunshots and heard glass break, felt debris, jumped to the other side of my bed and waited for it to stop. Then called 911.”
The father expressed concern over a bullet hitting a neighbor’s home.
“I didn’t mean for anybody to be involved in anything. I didn’t have any choice in the matter. I’m sorry for what happened to that lady’s window.”
He also said he was sorry for what the families of the two suspects are going through, but he says he had no choice.
“My condolences go out to all the families involved. I don’t know him. I wish it hadn’t happened. So like I said, to the moms, fathers, all the other people involved, I apologize,” he said.
The two suspects were not strangers to police. Terrell Johnson, the dead man, has served time in the Missouri prison system for first degree robbery. He had been given a sixteen year sentence.
Cortez McClinton was charged with first degree murder in the 2010 killing of Brian Reed. Reed was found dead in his car on Minnesota Street in South St. Louis. But in 2012, the circuit attorney’s office says those charges had to be dropped because witnesses wouldn’t cooperate. They ask anyone with any information about that case to contact Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS.
Neighbors in on Newport were clearly shaken by what had happened. Joan Bryan, 77, was born in her home two doors down from the shooting.
“You work hard for everything you have and somebody tries to come in with a gun and take away everything you have away from you. That’s not right. That’s scary,” she said. “This neighborhood used to be so good. You could go to the store and leave the door open. Not anymore.”
Another neighbor, Halil Salihovic, left his home less than a minute before the shootings.
“I got in my car and pulled off and I heard gunshots. And then my mom called me. She thought it was me.”
It wasn’t but he’s concerned what might have happened at a different time of day. Lots of kids live in the block, including his seven year old sister.
“I’m not scared for myself. I’m old enough to know what goes on in the world, but it’s just the kids that play around here, that’s all. That’s all I’m scared of,” he said.