INDIANAPOLIS — A man has been convicted in the 2020 murder of his roommate at their Indianapolis apartment, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced Friday.
After a three-day trial, a jury found 23-year-old Lamonteon Williams guilty of murder and criminal recklessness in connection with the shooting death of Daniel Johnson. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7.
At about 2 p.m. on August 7, 2020, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were called to the 400 block of Sandra Lane, located within the Country Club Apartments complex near Troy Avenue and Madison Avenue on the city’s south side.
Court documents show that officers arrived to find a man with a gunshot wound to his face just outside of the common door entrance. The man had two guns — a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber SD with apparent blood on it and a Smith & Wesson .22 caliber M&P Compact serial that was reported stolen out of Schererville — and told police that he was shot by Williams, per court documents.
Inside the apartment, police said they found an unresponsive man, later identified as Johnson, and an infant who appeared to be unharmed. Medics pronounced Johnson dead at the scene. Police said they also found evidence of marijuana dealing.
While at the apartment, officers learned that another person who’d been shot was being driven to Franciscan Health Indianapolis in a gold Toyota Camry. A Beech Grove police officer noticed a gold Camry traveling at a high rate of speed and pulled it over at East Southport Road and South Emerson Avenue. The officer found three people in the car: a female driver, a male passenger and Williams, who was suffering from gunshot wounds.
Williams was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital, and police interviewed the other two occupants.
According to court documents, the woman told police that she and her boyfriend drove to the apartment in her Camry to buy marijuana from someone they knew as “Smack.” She knew “Smack” from purchasing marijuana, and her boyfriend knew him from his rap music. She texted “Smack” that she was at the apartment, but he did not answer.
Instead, she told police, Williams walked out and said, “Do you need something from my people?” to which she said yes. Williams went into the apartment, but no one came back out, so she decided to call “Smack.” She said that when he answered, it sounded like wind or he was running and out of breath. She could not understand what he was saying. She told police that the phone then disconnected and she heard at least six gunshots.
Williams then came out of the apartment shot, along with another man, the woman recalled. Williams got into her car, and she tried to drive him to the hospital. She called 911 on her way. She told police that she did not think Williams had a gun on him or shoes on his feet.
The boyfriend’s story matched what the woman told police.
Court records show that another witness claimed to have seen a man who matched Williams’ description walking with something in his hand that looked like a gun and enter the apartment. She went on to say that after about 10 minutes, she heard gunshots and then saw the man get into the back seat of a brown-colored car with a female driver and a front-seat passenger.
Police said they also spoke with a man who lived at the apartment but was at work at the time of the shooting. He told them Williams had moved out of the apartment three or four days prior, and they all knew each other from their time attending Merrillville High School in northwest Indiana.
When officers tried to speak with Williams at the hospital, he requested an attorney.
The next day, a detective visited Eskenazi Hospital to speak with the man who was shot in the face, but he did not want to be recorded.
That man agreed to a recorded interview with the detective on Aug. 21, 2020, at the Merrillville Police Department. He said four people lived at the apartment: himself, Johnson — whose nickname was “Smack” — the man who was working at the time of the shooting and Williams, who had just recently moved out. The man said he sold marijuana out of the apartment. He also told the detective that Johnson kept a .40 caliber pistol at the apartment, and Williams had a .22 caliber gun, court documents state.
On the day of the shooting, Williams called him and said he was coming over, the man recalled. He remembered sitting on the couch next to Johnson’s infant child when Williams arrived. The man said Williams went to the kitchen to retrieve some items, became upset, and made a comment about there never being groceries when he lived there. Williams then brought up a debt that the man owed, but the man claimed he had already paid the debt.
Court documents show that the man claimed Williams then put a gun to his head and demanded his money. A fight over the gun ensued, and a shot went off. More shots were fired as Williams and the man fought over the gun. The man said Johnson then went into his room, came back with his .40 caliber pistol and fired at Williams. The man recalled falling to the ground and being shot by Williams while on the floor, per documents. He said he heard several shots but did not actually see anyone get shot.
After the shooting, Williams stumbled out of the apartment, and the man followed him. He said he saw Williams get into a vehicle and leave. The man told police he then went back into the apartment, took the two guns, and walked back out. Police then found him near the entrance of the building.
On Sept. 10, 2020, authorities completed a firearms examination on the Smith & Wesson .22 caliber and Smith & Wesson .40 caliber and compared them to recovered shell casings, bullets and bullet fragments. The examination found that all of the recovered .40 caliber shell casings, bullets and bullet fragments — including two bullets extracted from Williams during surgery — were fired from the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber. All of the recovered .22 caliber shell casings, bullets and bullet fragments — including two bullets removed from Johnson during his autopsy — were fired from the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber, court documents state.
On Sept. 16, 2020, Williams was charged with murder, attempted murder, criminal recklessness and theft of a firearm.
After his conviction, Prosecutor Mears commented on the case:
“We continue to see a troubling trend of minor conflicts resulting in gun violence. Far too often we see families of young people destroyed by split-second decisions to resort to firearms. As a community we must empower and equip our youth with the conflict resolution skills to disrupt the deadly cycle of gun violence in these moments.”