INDIANAPOLIS – In the days after police say Antonio Johnson shot and killed Melvin Hall Jr., he posted memorial tributes to his friend on Facebook.
Investigators later linked Johnson to the deadly Dec. 15 shooting through eyewitness accounts, fingerprints and clothing, according to court documents.
Indianapolis Metropolitan police found Hall shot inside a Pontiac Grand Am around 11:45 a.m. in the area of East 24th Street and North Kitley Avenue. He was pronounced dead minutes later.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office determined Hall died from multiple gunshot wounds. His death was ruled a homicide. Johnson is now charged with murder.
On the day of the shooting, a witness reported seeing a car driving backwards down the street and park at the curb. A man in the passenger seat got out and walked off before returning. When he came back to the Pontiac, the man opened the passenger side door and started shooting. He then took off, heading south on Kitley and then west into a nearby neighborhood.
The witness said the shooter, whom police later identified as Johnson, was wearing a red hat, brown jacket with fur-trimmed hood, black sweatpants, red shoes and a gold chain.
When police searched the car, they were unable to find Hall’s phone. His girlfriend later arrived at the scene and told police she couldn’t find Hall and told them he’d left his phone at home. She didn’t know why he was in the area, she said. The woman also asked investigators if they’d recovered Hall’s gun, described as “black and having an extended capacity magazine.” Police hadn’t recovered the weapon.
Investigators discovered ten fired 9mm cartridge casings from the vehicle. Forensics specialists were able to get a latent fingerprint from the passenger side door.
Hall’s girlfriend provided additional information to police on Dec. 19, when she revealed that she and Hall had gotten into an argument on Dec. 14, the day before the shooting. Her cousin, Antonio Johnson, was also present during the dispute, which “became physical at times.”
Hall and Johnson left together that night.
Another cousin of Johnson’s wanted to talk to police because she believed Johnson may have been responsible for killing Hall. She said he showed up “acting erratic” around 12 p.m. the day Hall was shot. Given the timeline for the shooting, this would have been right after it happened.
Johnson was carrying a black handgun with an extended capacity magazine. He told his cousin that Hall was “up there bleeding out” and that Hall had been “tripping.”
Johnson was desperate to get an Uber so he could leave the area. He told his cousin about Hall’s fight with his girlfriend on Dec. 14. After his cousin helped arrange a ride, Johnson changed clothes, taking off a jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, a red hat and red Nike shoes. Before leaving his cousin’s home, he left the items behind and “instructed her to burn the clothes and not speak with the police.”
Instead, the cousin approached investigators and turned over the clothing.
As police zeroed in on Johnson as the suspect in Hall’s shooting, they checked his Facebook page. They found several memorials Johnson had posted of Hall, including a video of the two of them together. On Dec. 14, Johnson posted a Facebook Live video in which he was wearing a red hat and shoes that matched those left with his cousin. He also sported a large medallion necklace that matched one described by a witness.
On Dec. 20, police learned that a fingerprint found on the Grand Prix belonged to Johnson.
Police arrested Johnson on Tuesday, Jan. 10, with the assistance of the IMPD U.S. Marshal’s Liaison Unit. His initial hearing was scheduled for Friday.