Metro-East News

Police seeking ‘Johnny Blaze’ in connection with two Madison County shootings

Police are looking for 19-year-old Nekemar K. “Johnny Blaze” Pearson, of Alton, in connection with a shooting at a Granite City carnival and a Godfrey house party that occurred within hours of each other.
Police are looking for 19-year-old Nekemar K. “Johnny Blaze” Pearson, of Alton, in connection with a shooting at a Granite City carnival and a Godfrey house party that occurred within hours of each other. Provided photo

Madison County detectives are looking for a man they say is a dangerous man and a serious threat to the public.

Police are looking for 19-year-old Nekemar K. “Johnny Blaze” Pearson, of Alton, in connection with a shooting at a Granite City carnival and a Godfrey house party that occurred within hours of each other.

Timothy L. Cook, 18, of 3803 Horn St. in Alton, was also charged in connection with the shooting. He is in custody. Circuit Judge Kyle Napp set the defendants’ bail at $200,000.

In the first incident, three people were confronted by two men armed with shotguns in the 2200 block of Pontoon Road in Granite City on Friday at about 11:22 p.m., according to a Madison County Sheriff’s Department news release. One of the suspects began shooting at them without warning, the release stated.

“Fortunately, the victims were not struck, but at least two vehicles were damaged by gunfire,” the release stated.

The shooting occurred in a parking lot near where a carnival was shutting down, according to Capt. Mike Dixon.

“Any number of people could have been shot and killed,” Dixon said. “We were very fortunate that didn’t happen.”

The suspects fled the scene shortly after shooting at the victims and could not be found. Granite City officers were told that the suspects were from the Alton area and one of them was known by the nickname of “Johnny Blaze.”

On Saturday at about 12:08 a.m., the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a call of shots fired at 306 St. Charles in Godfrey. Deputies found there was a house party underway at the home with many people in the area when they arrived. Deputies were told some people attending the party got into a fight with at least two other party-goers and shots were fired. Deputes were able to identify the armed subjects as Pearson and Cook.

While still at the scene, deputies received word that a 23-year-old Alton man was being treated at St. Anthony’s Hopsital for a gunshot wound to the arm. Investigators met with the man, who confirmed he was shot at the party. The man told detectives that shortly after arriving at the party, he was approached by Pearson, who threatened to kill him. Shortly after that, the victim heard gunshots and realized he was shot. The victim was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital by a friend who was with him at the party.

Detectives developed information and evidence during the investigation that Pearson and Cook were responsible for discharging guns during the Godfrey house party. Cook met with police on Monday and was taken into custody.

Granite City and Madison County investigators worked together developing facts linking Pearson and Cook to both incidents. The investigation is ongoing and anyone having information related to the whereabouts of Pearson or information about either incident is asked to call the Madison County Sheriff’s investigation division 618-692-0871, dispatch 618-692-4433 or the anonymous tip line at 618-296-3000

“He’s shown through his conduct in those couple of hours that he’s willing to endanger the lives of innocent people,” Dixon said of Pearson. “It’s important the public help us get him into custody.”

Dixon said Pearson may be in the Alton area or in St. Clair County.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 618-239-2570. Follow her on Twitter: @bhundsdorfer.

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