UPDATE 4:46 p.m. — According to probable cause statements from the Springfield Police Department, one witness was with Johnson when he was shot.
The witness, identified in documents as W1, told police he and Jimmie E. Johnson III were walking through the yard of the home on National Avenue when Ronald Curnow approached. Curnow was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the drawstrings pulled tight to hide his face.
Police reviewed surveillance video from Mustangs Tobacco and Liquor, where a disturbance had been reported prior to the shooting.
Video shows Curnow and W1 in a physical altercation. As the two fought, Johnson picked up items belonging to Curnow, including a red cloth bag. After the fight, W1 and Johnson left the business.Curnow and Payne Morse left the business as well.
Curnow later noticed he was missing the red cloth bag. He believed it had been stolen, and he returned to the business with Morse a short time later. Curnow went inside and later told Morse he had reviewed video of what had happened, saying he had seen Johnson steal his bag.
Curnow and Morse went back to a residence in the 2400 block of North Rogers. According to Morse’s statement to police, Curnow retrieved a gun from inside the house without Morse noticing. Morse said the gun belonged to his brother.
Morse said he gave Curnow a ride to the area they thought they might find Johnson and W1. Morse said he believed Curnow was going to fight Johnson and get his property back. Morse dropped Curnow off less than a block from where the shooting happened.
Morse told officers he heard gunshots and Curnow ran back to the vehicle. They returned to the residence on Rogers and Curnow admitted during the drive that he had shot Johnson and W1 in the leg. After returning to the house, Morse said he took the gun away from Curnow and initially hid it in a bedroom closet.
Morse said he used a relative’s car to take Curnow back to his home in Marshfield, Missouri. Later in the day and after reading a news article about Johnson’s death, Morse took the gun and hid it on the side of the road near the intersection of Woodstock Road and Tanglewood Lane in Dallas County.
Officers were able to retrieve the weapon, a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver, at that location.
A second witness, identified in documents as W2 was interviewed by SPD, and told officers he arrived at his home in the early morning hours on May 4 to find Curnow inside. W2 said he hadn’t seen Curnow since April.
Curnow told W2 he was in trouble, that he had shot and killed two people, needed money and a ride to a different address.
Both Morse and Curnow had been convicted on prior felony charges, which prohibited them from possessing the Taurus .357 Magnum revolver.
UPDATE 2 p.m. — Charges have been filed.
Curnow has been charged with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and armed criminal action.
Morse has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution.
UPDATE MAY 5 — Two people have been arrested in connection to the Wednesday homicide.
Ronald L. Curnow, 23, and Payne R. Morse, 22, are suspects in the shooting that left Jimmie E. Johnson III, 42, dead.
According to a press release from the Springfield Police Department, Morse is being held at the Greene County Jail on a $50,000 bond and Curnow without bond.
Charges have not yet been filed for either man. OzarksFirst will update this article as more information is released.
UPDATE 12 P.M. May 3 — The Springfield Police Department has identified the man killed in this morning’s homicide.
According to the SPD, officers found a man with a gunshot wound in his chest laying in the backyard of a North National Avenue home early this morning. He later died from his wounds.
The victim was Jimmie E. Johnson III, 42, of Springfield.
A suspect has still not been identified.
The police are asking anyone with information about the incident to give them a call at 417-864-1810 or make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 417-869-8477.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A man is dead after a backyard Springfield shooting this morning, May 3.
A spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department said that around 1:55 a.m. today, officers responded to a shots fired call from the 2300 block of North National Avenue, near the intersection of Turner Street.
When they arrived, they found a man shot in the chest. He was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Police say there is limited information about a suspect at this time, but an investigation is ongoing. OzarksFirst will update you as more information is released.