"I shouldn't have given him that gun" Suspected shooter in Jayme Thomas case charged with second degree murder
29-year-old Johnny Rourn was charged with second degree murder on Dec. 12 for the shooting death of Jayme Thomas in Des Moines, according to King County Prosecutors.
He also faces a second degree assault charge for wounding a 24-year-old man in the shooting and both charges include firearm enhancements (possibly leading to a longer sentence).
Rourn is in jail with a $1 million bail and will be arraigned on charges on Dec. 22, room GA, at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Update for Dec. 12
The following information is a summary of the certification for probable cause submitted to King County Prosecutors from the Des Moines Police Department:
In the early morning hours of Nov. 5 two groups, strangers to each other, ended up at the Redondo Beach area in Des Moines. Soon the groups would collide and 19-year-old Jayme Thomas would lose her life after being shot three times.
According to police, Thomas’s group had left a house party in two vehicles. They reconvened at Redondo to figure out their plans for the rest of the night.
The alleged shooter, 29-year-old Johnny Rourn, and his group of friends had plans to gamble at an area casino, but they never made it there. Witnesses said Rourn got into an argument with another male in the group and they ended up at the Arc sculpture in Redondo.
It was around 2:30 a.m. when the victims parked their vehicles. While several in the group got out of their cars, Jayme stayed in the back seat of a 1992 Volkswagen Golf, texting friends.
As a female from the victim group walked towards a public bathroom she was approached by a male in Rourn’s group. She told police he asked her if she had a boyfriend and, if so, why he wasn’t escorting her to the bathroom? She avoided the advance and attempted the bathroom door. Locked.
As she walked back to her friends the woman said Rourn’s group started making “harassing comments” towards her. She retorted and continued to walk away when a male member of the victim group heard the comments and started yelling back, calling the group a derogatory term.
That comment allegedly set Rourn off as his crew approached the victims. Witnesses would later tell police they saw an acquaintance hand Rourn a handgun and that is when chaos broke loose.
According to court documents, witnesses from both the victim group and Rourn’s group described Rourn allegedly firing two shots into the air, and then lowering the muzzle to the group before firing at least another seven shots (nine spent shell casings were found at the scene).
24-year-old Scott Kennedy was shot in both arms as those outside their vehicles scattered to hide behind cars and buildings. As Rourn and his associates fled the scene Jayme was discovered fatally injured in the backseat. She had been shot twice in the back and once in the arm. Later that morning she died from her injuries at Harborview Medical Center.
A key witness comes forward
A big break in the investigation came on Nov. 22 when an attorney representing the person of interest Des Moines police were searching for came into the station and said his client wished to turn himself in.
The witness was with Rourn the night of the shooting and began cooperating with the investigation. He said Rourn went by the name “Heart” (he has a neck tattoo that says “Heartless”) and described the argument between Rourn and a friend that led them to Redondo Beach.
The cooperating witness told police he did not see Rourn fire the shots, but said after the shooting both vehicles left the scene. They eventually ended up at Rourn’s Des Moines residence where the witness noticed Rourn had already changes his clothing. They set to changing the rims on Rourn’s vehicle.
Another male told the witness, “I shouldn’t have given him that gun.”
Detectives continued to identify the six males accompanying Rourn that night and, through interviews, Rourn was pinned as the alleged shooter.
On Dec. 7, around 10 p.m., SWAT members raided Rourn’s home and arrested him.
After hearing his Miranda rights, Rourn provided police with a recorded statement. Here is what he told police, according to court documents:
“Defendant Rourn finally explained to detectives he didn’t mean to shoot (Jayme Thomas) and didn’t even realize she was in the vehicle. (He) stated someone in the group handed him a gun and he started to fire in the air first. He then started shooting in the area of Victim-Thomas, Victim-Kennedy and the group associated with them. Defendant Rourn was very apologetic and kept repeating he wished he could trade places with (Jayme).”
Rourn will be arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree assault with firearm enhancements on Dec. 22 at the Norm Maleng Justice Center in Kent. Depending upon how he pleads, there will either be trial setting hearing or sentencing hearing to follow.