LANCASTER – At a 10 a.m. press conference Tuesday to announce how they captured robbery/homicide suspect Timothy Johnson, officials received word that Johnson’s girlfriend had just been arrested as an accomplice in the incident.
Lancaster resident Jinea Aarona Ingram, 24, was arrested at 10:01 a.m. Tuesday and booked at the Lancaster Station on $1 million bail, according to LASD Inmate Information records. Ingram is accused of driving the getaway car from the scene of Friday afternoon’s robbery murder. Ingram will be charged as an accomplice for robbery and special circumstance murder, said Homicide Lt. Matthew Burson.
Around 4 p.m., on Friday, March 23, Lancaster deputies were called to the e-Chaps Computer and More store at 2007 W. Avenue K where Los Angeles County Fire Rescue Personnel found owner, Reed Keith, on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds, said Burson.
Keith, 59, was pronounced dead on the scene.
Burson said, at the time of the robbery, there was a customer in the store who provided essential information for the investigation, enabling officials to obtain a search warrant for Johnson’s home.
Within hours, deputies surrounded the neighborhood where Johnson lived with his mother. However, Johnson was not there when a special weapons team entered the home approximately 12 hours after the crime had been committed, according to a city news release.
Authorities recovered several laptops, as well as the victim’s wallet from the home, Burson said.
On March 24 at about 7 p.m., sheriff’s personnel from the gang unit followed Johnson from an undisclosed residence in south LA, Burson said. The sheriffs are still looking at the relationship of the residence in LA to the suspect.
Burson said Johnson was detained at a traffic stop away from the residence.
“The unit felt it was safer to do it away from the residence,” Burson said. “He was pretty much caught by the element of surprise because he didn’t have time to react.”
Johnson was arrested on March 24 and is being charged with two counts of robbery, torture and special circumstances murder, with bail set at $1 million, said Burson.
At Tuesday’s press conference, local law enforcement and city officials expressed sadness and outrage about the crime that claimed the life of the computer store owner who is a 20-year Lancaster resident.
“On behalf of all the personnel at Lancaster Station, we’d like to extend our condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Reed Keith who was tragically killed this week in one of our incidences,” said Lancaster Station Captain Bob Jonsen.
“It was a senseless brutal act and the entire city council is outraged at what has taken place,” said Lancaster Councilman Marvin Crist.
In a city news release Tuesday, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris expressed “heartfelt condolences” to Keith’s family members.
“The entire City Council and I are outraged and saddened by this senseless loss of life,” said Parris. “This was a horrific crime, committed by a reported gang member just recently released from prison for having already committed a previous robbery.”
Parris also acknowledged the Sheriff’s Department for their quick work in apprehending a suspect less than 36 hours after the murder had taken place.
“Our Sheriff’s Department went right to work investigating any and all leads, in order to assure this very bad person was apprehended before any more senseless crimes could be committed,” Parris said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, criminals are not welcome in Lancaster. If you are stupid enough to commit a crime here, we will immediately hunt you down and arrest you just like this criminal.”
Jonsen said the quick arrest was due to a collective effort by law enforcement along with support from the community.
“The arrest of Timothy Johnson was a tremendous team effort that involved our Patrol Personnel, our Robbery Suppression Team, our Property Crimes Team, our Operation Safe Streets Bureau and our Homicide Bureau,” Jonsen said. “Without that collective effort I highly doubt that suspect would have been taken into custody so quickly after the incident.”
“I also want to express my gratitude to the numerous citizens who came forth immediately after the robbery on Friday afternoon and gave us some critical information which expedited our identification of the suspect and the ultimate apprehension of that suspect,” Jonsen added.
Johnson was previously convicted for possession of marijuana for sale in 2007 and placed on probation, and then convicted for armed robbery in 2008, according to court records. Johnson was sentenced to three years in state prison for the armed robbery conviction, and released on parole in July of 2011, according to court records.