Crime

Conway teen wanted in three shootings, including fatal June incident, found hiding in closet, arrested

A 19-year-old Conway man, wanted in three shootings including a fatal incident in June, was arrested Thursday after police found him hiding in a closet at an apartment in Conway -- a day after he had escaped from police custody.

Donavon Curtis Johnson, 19, was charged with murder by Horry County police in connection with the June 8 shooting death of 20-year-old Jose Gutierez of Myrtle Beach, Sgt. Robert Kegler said.

Conway police also sought Johnson in connection with two shootings that occurred in the city, according to authorities.

The day before his arrest Conway police who responded to a report of shots being fired, took Johnson into custody after finding him hiding behind shrubbery. Police said he jumped a fence on Wednesday and ran away, but officers caught him later the same day and arrested him behind a home on Wright Boulevard.

Police had taken him to a satellite station where he was questioned about the shooting, but when officers tried to put him in a patrol car for transport to J. Reuben Long Detention Center he fled, and police were not able to capture him until Thursday.

Conway police have arrest warrants charging Johnson with unlawful carrying of a firearm, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, two counts of resisting arrest, possession of stolen property and petty larceny in an incident from Sept. 12.

He also is faces charges of attempted murder, first degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, possession of a fire arm by certain persons unlawful and kidnapping for a shooting in the 2200 block of Maple Avenue on May 9 where a man was shot twice, but not killed.

On Thursday Horry County police SWAT and negotiation teams met Conway police and U.S. Marshal agents at a home on Creel Street where Johnson was found hiding, Kegler said. Officers set up a perimeter while negotiators called people out from the apartment.

Within minutes, a male subject unrelated to the incident walked out of the apartment and he was detained while negotiators continued to ask for Johnson to come out of the residence, Kegler said. After receiving no response from within the residence, the Horry County Police SWAT Team went into the home.

Johnson was found hiding in a closet inside the home and he was arrested without incident, Kegler said.

Horry County police charged Johnson with murder in connection with Gutierez’s death. Also charged was Shelton Lathal Butler Jr., 21, of Conway.

Gutierez was pronounced dead a short time after he arrived at the Conway Medical Center emergency room June 8 from at least one gunshot wound, according to authorities.

Horry County police were called Ronald McNair Boulevard, which is near the Carolina Bays Parkway overpass, for a report of gunshots being fired in the area. The caller told dispatchers that a man had been shot and several women put him in a vehicle and drove away.

Officers found a crime scene in that area that included blood, a cell phone and shoe in the street, according to the report. A witness told police that she was inside her house and heard what sounded like gunshots. The witness told police she saw a man leave the scene in one vehicle and the women and Gutierez leave in another vehicle.

While officers were at that scene, Gutierez arrived at the hospital for treatment, police said.

Officers learned the women took Guiterez to the hospital, and they were questioned about the shooting there. The man, who the witness described as leaving the scene, also arrived at the hospital and was questioned by police.

Several neighbors told police they heard three gunshots at the time of the incident, but that they did not see what happened, according to the report.

A background check with the State Law Enforcement Division showed that Johnson has previous criminal record.

Johnson was charged in May 2010 with driving under suspension, possession of meth or cocaine base; in December 2010 with first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime; March 2011 with indecent exposure; August 2011 with speeding, DUS and possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana; and January 2012 with first-degree manufacture, possession of controlled substances and giving false information to police. Those charges are pending.

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