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Suspects in death of Liberty City pastor had criminal past

7/17/2014, 9 a.m.
Last week’s shooting death of pastor Kenneth Johnson wasn’t the first time suspects Larry Flowers and Tyreke Desire committed felonies ...
Murder suspects Larry Flowers and Tyreke Desire.

Last week’s shooting death of pastor Kenneth Johnson wasn’t the first time suspects Larry Flowers and Tyreke Desire committed felonies that involved serious robberies.

The two have been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing Johnson who was gunned down during a violent robbery at City Market in Liberty City last week.

According to criminal records obtained by The Miami Times, Flowers, 20, committed strong armed robbery in 2012. That year, Desire was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior on a child. In June, 2013 Desire, 19, was charged with third-degree grand theft of an automobile.

As part their punishment, both men were given probation, which they violated several times. Records also show they resisted arrests without violence.

On Monday, the two were scheduled to appear at their arraignment in criminal court for their most serious crimes, first-degree murder in the shooting death of Johnson. Police alleged at 5:30 p.m. last Thursday, Flowers, 20, and Tyreke Desire, 19, approached Johnson who clutched a bottle of water and cash as he exited the convenience store on NW 62nd Street and 13th Avenue. Police said the men tried to snatch Johnson’s money and a gold-plated chain around his neck. When Johnson resisted, he was shot multiple times before he was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he died from his wounds.

With beefed up police presence in the area following a recent mass shooting and random gunfire, police quickly apprehended the suspects and arrested them.

If convicted the two men could face up to life in prison.

Last week’s capture of the men was the first arrest in a long time for the Liberty City community, which has been hit with random shootings that have left police without any suspects. Residents, fearing retaliation, have been unwilling to “snitch” or come forward as eyewitnesses to crimes.

Although the suspects have been caught, it brings little consolation to residents and relatives who knew Johnson, an assistant pastor of Power Faith and Deliverance Ministries, a church located just one block south of where the shooting occurred. Johnson was a popular minister who was deeply loved among his congregation and the community.

“He was a good man,” Latoya said at a vigil Friday outside the convenience store where her husband was shot, “He was well loved.”