Baltimore Man Found Not Guilty of Attempted Murder in Shooting of a Two-Year-Old Boy

Baltimore Courthouse

A Baltimore man charged with the non-fatal shooting of a two-year-old boy in a road-rage incident was found not guilty for attempted murder on Nov. 12. 

Javon Johnson, 36, was charged with the non-fatal shooting of a two-year-old boy in a fit of road rage on the 600 block of W. Franklin Street in October 2019. Johnson faced 32 counts, including eight counts combined of attempted first and second-degree murder; 8 counts combined of first and second-degree assault; two counts of reckless endangerment; and twelve firearm-related charges.

The investigation began on Oct. 10 when police responded to the location around 12:30 a.m. for a Shot Spotter alert.

Officers were called to a hospital where a 2-year-old boy was being treated for a gunshot wound to his stomach. Johnson was later identified as a person of interest after investigators found a picture of Johson’s silver Mazda Minivan. 

Johnson was taken into custody shortly after with no incident.

Two years later, Johnson denied his right to a jury trial and requested that a bench trial proceed before Baltimore City Circuit Judge Jennifer B. Schiffer

Nine witnesses came forward on the first day of the three-day trial, which began on Nov. 10. Four detectives from the Baltimore Police Department provided video and photo evidence of the defendant’s vehicle and Johnson at the scene when the shooting occurred. A ballistics expert confirmed the gun found in Johnson’s trashcan matched the bullet casings found at the scene that was recovered by a crime lab technician who confirmed their authenticity. 

Johnson testified that on the day of the incident, he was driving while under the influence of alcohol and was at a stoplight where no cars were moving despite a green light. A van then pulled up next to him to move around him, and he claimed that in a fit of anger, he pulled out his Taurus 709 9mm handgun and fired it three times out of his window at the van to “scare” the driver.

Johnson proclaimed that he felt as if he were in a video game and eventually drove home, not knowing that he had shot a two-year-old boy in the stomach who was in the backseat of the van.

Two days later, Johnson was arrested outside of his home by police after being identified via gas station video footage and surveillance camera footage. Johnson confessed to the shooting while in police custody, proclaiming that the incident “should have never happened,” and that “it was nobody’s fault but mine.” 

Defense attorney Matthew Connell spoke on his client’s behalf that he was not guilty on eight of the 32 charges. Connell said that for there to be a fair case of attempted murder, there needed to be specific intent and premeditation, which Johnson testified to be true. 

The prosecutor said that in order for Johnson to have the manual dexterity to drive and hit a moving target, he could not have been under the influence enough for the incident to not be premeditated.

The prosecution also quoted the driver of the van, the 2-year-old’s grandmother, who said she was chased by Johnson after the shooting, only having escaped by driving down a one-way street. The prosecution explained to Judge Schiffer that Johnson should be found guilty on all counts, including attempted first and second-degree murder. 

After much deliberation, Judge Schiffer found Johnson not guilty of attempted first and second-degree murder due to lack of evidence of premeditation and intent, and guilty of the remaining 24 charges. Johnson asked the court to not proceed with his sentencing until his mother could speak before the court, which Judge Schiffer approved. 

Johnson’s next court appearance will be on Jan. 5, 2022, for sentencing.