Shooter's bizarre behavior precedes attack on sleeping trucker

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 11/13/2014

A truck driver who was shot in the face during an attempted hijacking was left to lie in a pool of his own blood for over an hour before workers at a nearby grocery store finally called police.

The shooting, which took place sometime between 3:37 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, in the parking lot of Jerry’s Foods grocery store in Eden Prairie, Minn., left trucker Daniel W. Johnson, 58, of River Falls, Wisc., critically injured. Police were eventually called to the scene at just after 5 a.m. Saturday.

Court records state that Johnson’s shooting was the result of a bizarre set of circumstances involving another man who may have been drunk when he tried to hijack the tractor-trailer and drive himself home.

Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting – 28-year-old Kelly Neal Anderson, of Albertville, Minn. Anderson was charged by Hennepin County prosecutors with one count of attempted murder in the first degree, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years to life. Anderson was picked up by Minnesota state troopers about an hour after Johnson was shot. Authorities found him walking along Highway 169 in nearby Bloomington, Minn. At the time he encountered the officers, Anderson reportedly told police he was walking in the area because his car was stolen that night from a local bar. He also told police that his .40-caliber Beretta handgun, for which Anderson had a concealed-carry permit, was stolen in the vehicle as well.

According to the criminal complaint on file in Hennepin County District Court, Anderson would eventually confess to police that he had been out drinking Friday night with coworkers at a bar called Cowboy Jack’s in Bloomington. After leaving the bar, Anderson told the cops he attempted to drive his vehicle home, but crashed it off the roadway near Jerry’s Grocery store.

Although the store was closed, the complaint state that Anderson told police he was able to enter via an open side door. Security camera footage from the store shows the suspect entering at approximately 3:32 a.m. with his weapon drawn, and using the gun’s laser sight. For about five minutes, the security footage depicts Anderson making “tactical movements as if he were conducting a ‘protective sweep’ of the business.” He exited the business at 3:37 a.m.

Upon exiting the store, Anderson saw Johnson’s semi idling in the parking lot, with the victim asleep inside. The complaint states that Anderson told police he entered the vehicle with the intention of taking it and driving it home. Instead of stealing it, he woke Johnson from his sleep and proceeded to beat him with the handgun, breaking off pieces of the laser sight, which officers later found in the cab. He then shot the victim, removed Johnson’s jacket and left the vehicle, dumping the jacket behind the store and the gun near on overpass on Highway 169, at a location which the gun was later recovered by officers.

Despite his wounds, Johnson was able to give a statement to police when they eventually arrived on scene. The complaint states that he told police he was sleeping in his cab when a white male entered, awoke him, demanded the rig and subsequently assaulted him. As of Wednesday, he remains in critical condition at a local hospital.

The complaint also cites testimony from three employees at Jerry’s Foods, one of whom arrived at 3:10 a.m. and observed the truck in the lot but did not see anyone lying on the ground outside the truck. A second employee who arrived at approximately 4 a.m. observed Johnson on the ground, but believed him to be drunk rather than the victim of a shooting. It wasn’t until a third employee showed up for work at 5 a.m. and saw Johnson laying on the ground that police were finally called.

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