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Who was Yaseen Johnson? Teen shot dead after row over Balenciaga shoes

Authorities revealed that the 17-year-old wanted to purchase the pricey shoes from the two men who entered the SUV that day but a dispute arose
Yaseen Johnson, 17, was shot dead over Balenciaga trainers (GoFundMe)
Yaseen Johnson, 17, was shot dead over Balenciaga trainers (GoFundMe)

PLYMOUTH, MINNESOTA: Yaseen Johnson, a teen from Plymouth, was shot dead after a row broke out over a pair of high-end Balenciaga trainers in a car park on Monday, November 14. Police discovered the teen slumped inside a bullet-riddled Buick SUV. Another 19-year-old boy named Augustus Sirleaf Jr was arrested by police and charged with second-degree murder. When officers arrived at the parking lot and found the fatally wounded Johnson, a male approached them and said he was the driver of the SUV. He claimed that he ran from the vehicle when shots were fired. 

The driver said he and Johnson had came to the parking lot to buy the shoes. The two men were already there and got in the SUV, the driver said. One of them, now identified as Augustus Sirleaf Jr, gave Johnson one shoe in exchange for half the money but then asked for the shoe back. When Johnson refused, he was fatally shot by Sirleaf, the driver said. Officers located one of the Balenciaga sneakers just outside the SUV and the other on the front passenger floorboard. Two cartridge casings from a .40 caliber gun were found discharged outside the driver’s door with two more behind the rear passenger seats. According to court records, a backpack with a receipt that prompted inquiries about a different person. Sirleaf surrendered to the police after they made his name and picture public.


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On November 22, he appeared in court with a bond amount of $1 million. Police are still looking for Hans Madave, 19, who is also suspected of participating in the gruesome homicide. A third suspect, an 18-year-old, was detained in connection with the incident but later released without being charged. Earlier, CCTV footage had captured the group of suspects leaving in a nearby-parked car. The footage reportedly showed, Sirleaf and Madave getting into the car, while the 18-year-old driver sped off and drove it away from the parking lot. 

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign was released by Yaseen’s uncle Jerolyn Mends-Cole. The page reads, “On November 14, 2022, my little nephew Yaseen Johnson became a victim of gun violence. Yassen was shot and killed with no true intent. He was only 17. He was always respectful and willing to help his parents with chores or whatever they asked of him. He loved working at Jimmy Johns, playing video games, and being alone minding his business in the basement.” 

“Yassen was very shy and also very brilliant. Yaseen still had a lot of life to live. He liked practically everybody and vice versa. Due to this unexpected tragedy that has happened to the family, they will need support in many ways. To honor Yassen's memory, Thelma (mom) is creating a foundation to help fight this monster called gun violence. We appreciate whatever support you can give. Your words of encouragement and love are also greatly appreciated. Long live Yassen!” the statement on the page remarked.