Neighbors relieved after arrest made in Clayton homicide

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 9:12 PM CST
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CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV) - People and businesses along Wydown Boulevard have been on edge this week following a fatal shooting, the first homicide in nearly 20 years in Clayton.

However, many also expressed relief following the arrest of a suspect Friday. Trenell Johnson, 18, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death on Monday of Joshua Harris.

Lori Cox, who works at A Floral Gallery down the street from where the shooting happened, was a little concerned about the lack of information released by Clayton Police and the St. Louis Metropolitan Major Case Squad.

“It made everyone a little frightened, wondering what was going to happen next,” she said.

But after the arrest of Johnson, she and other in the neighborhood have felt relieved.

“I think everyone feels a little better, more comfortable,” she said.

As more information became available it brought to light several contributing factors to violent crime, particularly crime stemming from car break-ins.

Johnson, and others were observed on surveillance video breaking into several vehicles Monday morning. Police said Harris observed people breaking into his car when he confronted them and was shot.

Lt. Detective Monica Ruelas with the St. Ann Police Department said that car-related thefts have seemingly spiked in the past few years, topping more than 50 break-ins in 2023 alone.

She said the people involved in those crimes are frequently involved in others, since they are often breaking into cars in search of weapons.

“The amount of crime we’ve seen during car break-ins has also led to, if the victims come out to their vehicle there’s a possibility of an altercation, up to someone getting injured or killed,” she said.

She said police recommend not confronting thieves during a break-in, since they are often armed.

Ruelas also said that law enforcement may be less likely to release information in a case in which there may be a possibility of retaliation, or if a suspect is involved with groups of people involved in other crimes, such as break-ins.

“We don’t want anyone to manipulate that investigation,” she said.