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IMPD traces suspect to Georgia in Thomas Johnson's 8-year-old murder cold case

Posted at 5:23 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 17:23:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- More than eight years after he was fatally shot in a northwest-side apartment complex, a man is behind bars for the 2008 murder of Thomas Johnson.

In June 2016, an IMPD detective assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force contacted the Cold Case Unit about an informant willing to cooperate with police regarding information that could solve a murder in Indianapolis.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the informant told police they could lead them to evidence in the murder of Thomas Raymond Johnson, 44, who was found fatally shot in a car in the Rosewood Commons Apartments on Nov. 27, 2008.

At the time, Johnson's family told police he had begun using cocaine again. The mother of his children told police she had given him a ride to Rosewood Commons two days prior to his death because he wanted to locate his vehicle.

Investigators also subpoenaed Johnson's cell phone records, which showed his final outgoing call was to a man named Darrin Shores Jr.

After that, though, leads in the case dried up and the detective assigned to Johnson's murder retired from the department. The investigation was eventually moved to the Cold Case Unit, where it sat until June.

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In July 2016, with a lead provided by the new informant, police made contact with a woman who said she was with Shores the night Johnson was shot.

The woman (identified in the affidavit as Cooperating Individual Number 2) provided police with her account of that night, excerpted below from the probable cause affidavit filed against Shores:

"She remembered the Victim and Shores having phone conversations, texting together, and she knew this because she was present when Shores was on the phone with Johnson, Johnson was upset with Shores, he wanted his SUV back and because he thought the quality of the cocaine was bad and he wanted a refund or better quality cocaine. Darrin refused to refund or give him new cocaine and the conversation was argumentative. Johnson said he was on his way over but, Darrin did not take him serious. After hearing someone outside the apartment Darrin got dressed in all black and took his handgun (9MM) with him and went outside. Cooperating Individual Number 2 said after a few minutes of quiet she heard a single gunshot. Once Darrin got back in the apartment, he said “I got his ass; I shot him in the back”. Darrin appeared fine and was not upset.

Cooperating Individual Number 2 decided she did not want to be part of anything and called a friend for a ride, When the friend arrived and came in the apartment she said the police were all over and the guy who got shot died. Darrin then became visibly nervous; he and his cousin who had slept through the shooting went outside and sat in a vehicle observing the police discretely, Cooperating Individual Number 2 said she left the complex and did not speak to Darrin until later that night. Cooperating Individual Number 2 said that Darrin threatened her not to tell anyone about him shooting the guy and has repeated his threats throughout the years since. Darrin also told Cooperating Individual Number 2 that he threw the gun in a river/lake."

Investigators showed the woman an array of photographs, out of which she identified Shores immediately. She also told police Johnson was the same man who had bought cocaine from Shores, as well as provided the SUV.

During the course of the investigation, police learned Shores, now age 29, was living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

On March 24, and IMPD Cold Case Unit detective traveled to Lithia Springs, Georgia, to interview Shores in connection with the murder of Thomas Johnson in 2008.

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During the interview, Shores denied knowing Johnson and said he wasn't sure if he knew where Rosewood Commons was or anyone who lived there.

Phone records subpoenaed during the original investigation showed no less than 15 phone calls had taken place between 4:34 a.m. and 6:23 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2008, between Shores and Johnson, according to the affidavit.

Based on that evidence, Marion County prosecutors filed one charge of murder against Shores in connection with the death of Johnson. He was taken into custody Tuesday and was being held at the Marion County Jail without bail.

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