Crime spree in Nevada preceded motorcycle shootout near South Lake Tahoe |

Crime spree in Nevada preceded motorcycle shootout near South Lake Tahoe

Kurt Hildebrand
Billy Jo Johnson

Before he was wanted in the armed robbery of a Carson City yogurt shop, a man who was killed in a running shootout with Lake Tahoe police was being sought in a Gardnerville Ranchos home invasion.

Billy Jo Johnson, 34, was killed in the Meyers area Monday after exchanging gunfire with police from the back of a motorcycle in a chase from Pickett’s Junction over Luther Pass.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, on Sept. 21 Johnson broke into the Leonard Road home of his girlfriend and her mother.

He kicked in the door and struck the older woman, knocking her to the floor, before going after the girlfriend.

The mother said Johnson threatened to kill them and she told deputies she believed he was capable of it.

Johnson ran out of the home’s back door after taking a purse with credit cards and a prescription.

Deputies searched for Johnson, even checking an address on Kimmerling and then sought a warrant for his arrest.

Johnson is believed to have resurfaced on Oct. 22 when authorities say a tattooed bald man robbed the Fruitlandia Yogurt Shop on William Street.

Carson authorities were seeking a warrant for Johnson’s arrest in the robbery when, a week later, he was shot and killed by South Lake Tahoe police after a chase from Pickett’s Junction to Meyers that had Johnson firing at officers while riding his motorcycle.

Johnson was the only casualty.

Lt. Shannon Laney, who is serving as acting chief while Police Chief Brian Uhler is overseas on vacation, told the Tribune the detective who shot Johnson was on paid leave, as is standard practice.

Police plan on releasing the name of the detectives in the coming days.

Johnson is believed to have previously robbed a business in South Lake Tahoe, according to Laney, in addition to stealing a vehicle that was used in the Carson City robbery.

Johnson has a long criminal record in Western Nevada, having served two stretches in Nevada Prison.

He was convicted of four counts of check kiting in 2008. In 2011 he received 4-10 years in prison for attempted robbery.

He was paroled in January 2015 after serving the minimum sentence.

Tribune Editor Ryan Hoffman contributed to this report.

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