Police on Friday arrested a 22-year-old felon they suspect in a 36-hour string of violent felonies – including two homicides, one of a 15-year-old boy.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, after a manhunt involving more than 75 officers, charged Reginald Lamar Johnson with two counts of murder and two counts of robbery. They also suspect him in another robbery.
Johnson was being held in the county jail without bond Friday.
Police charged Johnson in the shooting death of 15-year-old William Adams in a west Charlotte park Thursday afternoon. His father said William had been away from home just 10 minutes.
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Investigators also suspect Johnson in the shooting death of 42-year-old Angela Davis in north Charlotte about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Police say physical evidence ties Johnson to the scene. They say Davis was shot after telling an armed man who demanded money that she didn't have any.
Police began searching for Johnson, and the stolen Nissan Altima he was driving, after the park shooting. They intensified the search after the second shooting, pulling in the SWAT team and officers from a DWI checkpoint to help.
Finally, about 1:45 a.m., officers spotted the silver Altima in the Double Oaks neighborhood in north Charlotte. Officers pulled behind the car, which sped away and crashed. Johnson ran, but officers caught him.
Police have arrested Johnson 10 times as an adult, said police spokesman Robert Fey. Those charges range from misdemeanor marijuana possession to assault with a deadly weapon, a crime for which he spent 18 months in prison.
Johnson served that sentence after pleading guilty in 2006 to assault with a deadly weapon, court records show. He was released Feb. 3 and began nine months of supervision.
But on March 30, he was charged with hit and run, failure to stop, damaging property and marijuana possession after running into a security guard's car outside Club Onyx, a south Charlotte strip club.
The guard was subpoenaed but failed to show up for Johnson's trial Aug. 5, said the arresting officer, Jared Whitner. All four charges against Johnson were dismissed.
“There's nothing we can do about it,” Whitner said. “It happens all the time.”
Convictions on any of the charges might have sent Johnson back to prison until Oct. 30, when his post-release supervision was scheduled to end. The N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission would have decided whether to send him back, said state Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree.
“Even if you're on parole or post-release supervision, there's still the presumption of innocence,” Acree said. “We weren't going to revoke someone's parole merely because they were charged with a crime.”
Officers say the crime spree began at lunchtime Wednesday. Police and witnesses gave the following accounts:
11:53 a.m., Wednesday
William Heeney had just finished eating lunch inside his 2002 Nissan Altima on Park Drive near Presbyterian Hospital in Elizabeth.
Heeney told police that he got out of the car and a man walked up behind him, pulled a small revolver out of his pocket and ordered, “Give me the keys.”
The man took Heeney's keys and wallet and headed east with the car. Police dispatched their helicopter and notified other officers to look for the Altima and its S.C. license plate.
They couldn't locate the suspect that day, but the silver car would surface again in connection with other crimes.
12:55 a.m. Thursday
A 26-year-old man whose name was withheld by officers told police that a robber approached him at the Motel 6 off Clanton Road southwest of uptown.
The robber pulled a gun and stole a 1997 Ford Expedition. Police say Johnson is suspected in the theft.
The victim was uninjured. But he last saw the Expedition getting on a ramp to Interstate 77.
6:24 p.m. Thursday
William Adams had spent all day baby-sitting his younger siblings while his mom was at work, something his parents say he'd been doing all summer.
His mother got home around 6 p.m. and William headed to Five Points Park near Johnson C. Smith University. In just a few days, he expected to start his sophomore year at Harding High School.
A man who witnessed the shooting but didn't want to give his name said he was playing soccer in the park and saw William talking with another man around 6:20 p.m.
William and the other man were arguing, said the man, though he said he couldn't hear what they were saying.
Then he heard a gunshot and saw the teen fall onto the grass.
The shooter fled and the man said he ran over to William.
“He was bleeding from his mouth, so I couldn't really understand him,” the man said. “He just said, ‘Help … Help.'”
On Sunday, William's family is planning a vigil at the park. They spoke to reporters there Friday, near a dark mark left by their son's blood.
11:34 p.m. Thursday
A man on foot approached two people walking off North Tryon Street near the Amtrak station. He pulled out a gun and demanded money.
When the people said they didn't have any, the suspect shot Davis in the chest, police say. She died at Carolinas Medical Center a short while later.
Late Friday, police said they told Davis' family members of her death and obtained a second murder warrant for Johnson. Staff Writer Ann Doss Helms and researchers Marion Paynter and Maria David contributed.