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County attorney declines to press charges against homeowner after fatal shooting

Prosecutors say the 53-year-old homeowner and her son had a "valid self-defense claim" when Martin Lee Johnson was shot and killed on her property on Feb. 22.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's Note: The video above first aired March 2, 2022.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office says it won't file charges against a Minneapolis homeowner and her son after a fatal shooting occurred on her property. 

Prosecutors say the 53-year-old homeowner and her 26-year-old son had a "valid self-defense claim" when Martin Lee Johnson, 30, was shot and killed on Feb. 22.

According to a release from the county attorney's office, investigators determined Johnson tried to break into the home on the 3300 block of 25th Avenue South and refused to leave the backyard. Prosecutors said footage from a Ring surveillance camera backed up the homeowner's claim, showing Johnson jumping the backyard fence and trying to enter the home through a patio door without success, then Johnson entered through the detached garage.

At the time of the incident, the homeowner told police she saw Johnson on her surveillance camera trying to enter, but after his failed attempt through the patio, she thought he left the property. She said it wasn't until she noticed her garage door slightly open that she realized he was still on the premises. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Home owner claims self-defense in fatal shooting of alleged burglar

Prosecutors say the homeowner, who has a permit to carry a firearm, fired warning shots from her handgun while yelling for Johnson to leave. Court documents say Johnson finally exited the home, but would not leave the backyard. That's when she said Johnson started to walk toward her and her son with his hands reaching toward his waist, prompting the shooting.

Police say Johnson was shot once in the chest and was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.

The county attorney's office said the homeowner's son was also in possession of a rifle at the time, and neither the Minneapolis Police Department nor the medical examiner could not determine from which gun Johnson was shot.

Authorities say both the homeowner and her son provided voluntary interviews and potential evidence, including the surveillance footage, to investigators after the shooting. County attorney officials said after reviewing the evidence, they concluded the state could not disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the homeowner and her son acted out of self-defense.

The county attorney's office says it will not comment further on the case.

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