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Early Morning Murder and Arson in LeRoy

Kyle G. Johnson
Genesee County Sheriffs Photo
Kyle G. Johnson

A four hour standoff Tuesday with police in Genesee County left one man dead and his neighbor under arrest.

Sheriff Gary Maha says 53-year old Kyle Johnson from LeRoy may have been upset that his Selden Road home was being foreclosed upon. Maha says just before 4 am, Johnson burst into his neighbor’s home about three-tenths of a mile down the street.

"The suspect then went downstairs to a downstairs bedroom where the victim was sleeping and he shot him with a .12-guage shotgun and then he fled the scene on foot."

Norman "Don" Ball
Credit Time Warner Cable News
Norman "Don" Ball

Maha identified the shooting victim as 69-year old Norman “Don” Ball, saying Johnson shot and killed Ball as he slept. Maha told reporters Johnson then returned home to set fire to his house.

"When the responding LeRoy Fire Chief and LeRoy Village Police officer responded to the home, the suspect fired a shotgun in their direction. No shots hit the officers or their vehicles," said Maha.

First responders say Johnson shot at them as they arrived at the fire.

"When he got out of the vehicle, heard the shots, looked up to his left, saw what he thought was the wadding from the shotgun going by his head and took cover."

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha speaks to reporters.
Credit Time Warner Cable News
Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha speaks to reporters.

The Sheriff told reporters he plans to review tapes of dispatchers to determine if those responding to the fire were told that there was just a shooting down the road.

"Law enforcement was on their own secure channel, the fire department was on theirs. But we could hear them on the scan. Now, when the first officer got on the scene I wasn't there yet. I haven't heard of any communication problems."

Maha says when he arrived, Johnson was holding a shotgun and pacing back and forth in front of his burning home.

"He wasn't hiding. He was standing around, in front of his house with the gun in his hand,” said Maha.

The Sheriff says Johnson ignored police requests to give up, so he called in an armored SWAT vehicle from Monroe County.

"At approximately 7:55 am, Mr. Johnson did put his firearm down and was rushed by the SWAT members and taken into custody without incident," said Sheriff Maha.

Maha believes Johnson was asking for what he termed: "suicide by cop."

"If the officer shot him it would have, certainly in my mind, been a justified shooting. Cause he did walk up to our deputy and say 'Shoot me,' 'Shoot me in the head,' and the officer restrained himself and the guy would retreat."

Maha said he would not speculate on what might have motivated Johnson, and wouldn’t reveal what Johnson told officers after his arrest.

Johnson was arraigned in Town of LeRoy court Tuesday afternoon on felony charges of murder, burglary, arson and reckless endangerment, and Sheriff Gary Maha says there could be additional charges.

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