Belleville man accused of threatening to shoot up tattoo shop after ‘botched tattoo’

Screamin’ Demon Tattoo shop in Fairview Heights
Screamin’ Demon Tattoo shop in Fairview Heights

A 22-year-old Belleville man is accused of threatening to shoot up a Fairview Heights tattoo shop for what he says is a botched tattoo.

Police say that on June 1, Romel T. Johnson wrote on Facebook that he would “shoot up and kill everyone” in the Screamin’ Demon Tattoo shop for “messing my tatoo (sic) up on purpose,” charging documents stated.

A St. Clair County judge issued an arrest warrant for Johnson on Nov. 27, the documents state. He is being charged with one count of harassment through electronic communications.

Employees at Screamin’ Demon Tattoo, located at 10509 Lincoln Trail, said they only became aware of the threat last month, when someone called to warn the store about Johnson’s post.

That’s when they made the decision to call police.

Robert Reehle, a tattoo artist from the store, said Johnson had been tattooed at the shop almost 50 times in the last three to four years. Reehle said he doesn’t even know which tattoo Johnson is saying was botched.

Reehle said Johnson was known for coming into the store and requesting tattoos that were out of his price range. Sometimes, Reehle said, he would begin tattooing Johnson and Johnson would ask for additional art in the same session, free of charge.

“I told him I couldn’t do that,” Reehle said. He speculates that’s what set Johnson off in June.

“It came as a total surprise to us,” Reehle said Thursday, saying he had “no clue” Johnson had any complaints about any tattoos he’d done for him.

As of Thursday night, Johnson had not been arrested yet.

Hana Muslic has been working the public safety beat for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.