The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 23, 2013

No charges to be filed in Joplin shooting case

By Jeff Lehr
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — The nonfatal shooting of a 25-year-old man at a Joplin residence on May 13 has been deemed justified by authorities.

Jacob B. Boykin, 21, of Joplin, shot Justin S. Johnson, 25, of Carterville, once in the chest with a small-caliber handgun at 5260 E. Sunny Acres Lane.

Johnson reportedly was following Boykin and Thomas A. Sams, 26, into Sams’ residence without the occupant’s permission after a confrontation in Sams’ front yard. Boykin perceived Johnson to be a threat to his friend’s life or well-being and shot him.

“We ran the facts of the case by the (Jasper County) prosecutor and, at this point, there’s not going to be any charges filed,” Joplin police Lt. Brian Lewis said Thursday.

Johnson underwent surgery at Freeman Hospital West and survived the shooting.

Police say events leading up to the shooting began at a party at a residence in Carterville. Lewis said Sams reportedly tripped over a cable hooked up to a television at the residence and damaged the cable. A dispute arose between Sams and others, and Sams left the party and went home to Joplin.

Johnson and three other men at the party then went looking for Sams at his home and confronted him in his front yard, where Boykin, Sams’ friend and neighbor, came to his assistance armed with a handgun.

Lewis said that before the confrontation in the yard, Johnson had been threatening in text messages to cause “severe bodily harm” to Sams. That prompted Boykin, who was aware of the threats to Sams, to pull out a handgun in an effort to get his friend’s antagonists to leave.

Police determined that while the argument between the men was alcohol-fueled, Boykin had not been drinking and was not intoxicated.

Boykin reportedly tried to defuse the situation by pulling Sams inside his house. But as he did, Sams hit his head on the door frame and fell onto his back just inside his home, Lewis said. Johnson followed Sams and Boykin through the doorway at that moment and was looming over Sams when Boykin shot him, Lewis said.

Johnson did not initially believe his wound was that serious, and his friends took him back to the party. They had to call an ambulance to the Carterville residence a short time later. In the meantime, Boykin called police and reported the shooting, according to Lewis.