Shoe prints, anonymous tips and wiretapped phone calls are among the evidence that led to the arrests of three people last week in the shooting of 3-year-old Major Sutton, according to court documents.
Tyrone Deangelo Johnson, 21, David Reagan Palms, 19, and Myeisha Bernice Dale, 29, were arrested Friday in the Nov. 10 shooting and have been charged with first-degree murder, among other charges. They're scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
Police were soon on their trail after suspects kicked in an apartment door in the 800 block of Pershing Street and opened fire, killing Major and injuring his pregnant mother and 5-year-old brother.
The documents say Johnson and Palms were the shooters while Dale was in her vehicle which was used to flee the scene.
The motive was gang-related: the mother was living with a documented West Side Crips gang member, and both Johnson and Palms are members of the rival East Side Crips, the documents say.
The West Side Crip, whose name is redacted in the documents, wasn't home at the time. He and two associates had left the apartment complex shortly before the shooting to visit a nearby store.
Police began looking into Johnson and Palms because the incident bore similarities to a March 2 shooting in which they were suspects, the documents say. In the earlier shooting — in which no one has been charged — three people broke into a locked apartment and fatally shot a man who was in bed with his girlfriend and two children.
While investigating Major's killing, investigators found a "distinctive" right-footed Vans outsole shoe print on the kicked in door, according to the documents. Police contacted Johnson on Nov. 11 — a day after the shooting — and noticed he was wearing Vans shoes. They arrested him and seized the shoes.
Laboratory testing of the shoes resulted in a match of size, brand and tread pattern to the print found on the door, according to the documents, but it could not definitively be determined that Johnson's shoe had made the mark. He was released several days later.
But information came pouring in indicating his involvement. A confidential informant, a citizen informant and numerous anonymous tips named him and Palms as Major's killer, the documents say.
On Nov. 19, police stopped a vehicle Johnson was driving which matched descriptions of the vehicle seen leaving the area of the shooting. Dale, who has children with Johnson's older brother, was also in the vehicle.
A search of Dale's purse turned up a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol, according to the documents. Analysis later determined the handgun fired bullet casings found at the apartment.
Johnson and another person whose name is redacted in the documents were placed in the rear of a patrol vehicle containing a hidden recording device after the gun was found.
While in the vehicle, the documents say, Johnson told the other person, "They know bro that I kicked the door with the right. That's why they coming to talk. That's why they got to talk."
Johnson and the other person gave contradicting alibis as to where they were the night of the shooting, the documents say. And while Dale said she was at her home near South Oswell Street and Highway 58, her cellphone data showed otherwise.
According to the documents, records obtained from Dale's cellphone company show the phone was present in the area of the killing when she claimed she was at home.
And records obtained for Johnson's phone show a gap of cell tower information within an hour before and an hour after the killing, the documents say. Investigators say that's consistent with the phone being turned off during that time frame.
Police wiretapped calls involving the defendants in which they admitted to lying about the case to investigators.
In a Jan. 25 call, Johnson told his alibi witness she didn't need to tell police anything, the documents say. Several other calls indicate people who were contacted by police regarding the shooting reported back to the defendants both before and after police interviews, and shared information with them.
Investigators also listened to numerous recorded calls Johnson made from jail. In one, he tells a female that he is going to "take a life sentence" and threatens to confess if she doesn't visit him, the documents say.
"I pulled that trigga (sic) (expletive)!," the documents say Johnson told the female. "I did that."