A Kansas City man has been charged with murder in connection with a shooting death early Wednesday that authorities believe may have involved a dispute over a small amount of money.
Brandon D. Johnson, 34, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in Jackson County Circuit Court. He is accused of killing 63-year-old Ernest Gibson in the front yard of Gibson's home in the Foxtown East neighborhood.
Police were sent to the 4000 block of East 69th Street around 12:45 a.m. after gunfire was heard in the area. The call for service was upgraded to a shooting as officers were a few blocks away, Kansas City police have said.
Arriving officers found Gibson with gunshot wounds in his front yard. He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital and died shortly after arriving.
According to court records, police identified Johnson as a suspect in the killing based on witness accounts, phone records and license plate reading technology that placed his car in the area of the shooting around 15 minutes beforehand.
Witnesses told police that Gibson had called Johnson over to the home to arrange a drug deal. One told police Johnson arrived at the house and Gibson met him outside, where the two began arguing over a $10 debt.
Pushing and shoving started between the two, court records say. Gibson was walking back toward the house when Johnson extended his arm toward Gibson and gunshots rang out, one witness told police.
Investigators found that there had been contact between phones connected to Gibson and Johnson three times before the shooting. The last call was made around 15 minutes before police arrived.
Johnson was arrested Wednesday while staying in a hotel on the southern edge of Kansas City, court records show. During an interview with police, Johnson denied being at Gibson's home or knowing him despite a family connection between the two men, a detective wrote in court papers.
Johnson is being held in Jackson County jail. Prosecutors have requested he be held on $250,000 bond.
Gibson is Kansas City's 109th homicide victim of 2021, according to data maintained by The Star. By this time last year - the deadliest on record - the city had seen 149 homicides.