A man with a recent history of alleged gun violence has been charged in the February killing of a 57-year-old man shot in the head in the driveway of his home on St. Paul’s North End.
Kavion Jayvon Barnett, 27, of St. Paul, was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 9 drive-by shooting of James Jeffrey King Sr. in the 200 block of Front Avenue. King died in the hospital from his injuries on March 1.
Four days after that shooting, while driving on the Earl Street Bridge, Barnett is accused of shooting and injuring a 45-year-old man who was driving to church with his wife and two children, according to the criminal complaint filed against Barnett on Monday charging with second-degree assault and drive-by shooting toward an occupied motor vehicle.
On Monday, police arrested Barnett on those charges and on suspicion of killing King. He is being held in the Ramsey County jail.
Last summer, Barnett and another man were charged in the August shootout in St. Paul that wounded Barnett, the other man who was charged and a woman. Barnett pleaded guilty in October, got out of jail on supervised conditional release, and is due to be sentenced in that case next week.
According to Wednesday’s criminal complaint, Barnett admitted to investigators that he fired a Smith and Wesson .45-caliber handgun in the Feb. 9 and Feb. 13 shootings.
Around 9:50 p.m. on Feb. 9, officers were sent to Front Avenue on a report of a shooting and found King in the driver’s seat of his Ford F-150 pickup truck parked in his driveway. The driver’s window was partially shattered, and King had a gunshot wound to his left temple. He was transported to Regions Hospital.
A neighbor told police he heard a gunshot the previous night, but that he didn’t think anything about it because the sound of gunshots are not unusual in the neighborhood.
Officers found a .45-caliber shell casing near Front Avenue and Woodbridge Street. It matched a casing found after the Earl Street Bridge shooting four days prior and also a casing found next to the body of a man who had been shot in the head and killed on March 4.
Surveillance video on Feb. 9 showed a Honda Odyssey minivan about a block from the Front Avenue home and nearby in the 900 block of Marion Street around 12:19 a.m. Other surveillance video revealed the sound of a gunshot at 12:20 a.m.
On March 1, a man contacted homicide investigators and said he had witnessed King’s shooting. He said he and his girlfriend were walking on Front Street and saw a truck pull into the driveway. He said a Honda Odyssey minivan stopped at Woodbridge Street and Front Avenue, where the driver pointed a gun out the window and shot once.
Further investigation revealed that Barnett had ties to a silver Honda Odyssey that was involved in the Feb. 13 Earl Street Bridge shooting. Surveillance video showed Barnett abandoned the minivan he was driving about four hours after the shooting and that Delaquay Williams exited the passenger side of the vehicle.
Williams, 27, of St. Paul, was recently charged in two St. Paul murders — one on Feb. 1 and another on March 4. Barnett is also “very close” to Williams, charges read.
Analysis of a casing found in the Earl Street Bridge shooting showed the handgun was the same used by Williams in the March homicide, according to a criminal complaint against Barnett.
On Monday, after Barnett was arrested in connection with the Feb. 13 shooting, he spoke with investigators. When shown surveillance photos from both incidents, he admitted he was the person driving the Honda Odyssey minivan over the Earl Street Bridge and in the area of King’s shooting, charges say.
However, Barnett initially denied shooting anyone, telling investigators that they arrested him because he is Black, according to the charges. Investigators told Barnett he was arrested because evidence tied him to a murder and a shooting.
Barnett then said it was “a manslaughter case because he did not intend to kill JK,” charges read. “Barnett said he had prior confrontations with JK about loud music. The most recent incident occurred a couple of nights before the shooting.”
Barnett said he saw King in his driveway and that King “started talking crazy” and he shot him once from the minivan, charges read. Barnett said he only intended to scare King.
When asked about the Earl Street Bridge shooting, Barnett said he shot once at the car because he thought it was an opposing gang member — not a family on their way to church, charges said.
After admitting to investigators he fired a .45-caliber handgun in both incidents, Barnett claimed he threw the gun in the river, charges said. But officers told him that was a lie, since the gun had been used in the March 4 murder after Barnett’s two shooting incidents. He refused to tell investigators who he gave the gun to.
Barnett has three prior felony convictions: first-degree burglary, auto theft and third-degree burglary.