JOHNSTON – Police have arrested a man who they believe could have shot his girlfriend to death.
38-year-old Liberian, Abraham Roberts was arrested last Sunday night by U.S. Customs officials in International Falls, Minnesota, while trying to cross into Canada. He is a suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, 34-year-old Agnes Yarlee also a Liberian.
The shooting happened Saturday night at 6220 NW 106th Street in Johnston. Police first got a call around 8:00 p.m. Saturday night about a domestic fight there. and immediately received several reports of a shooting at the same location. Yarlee died shortly after police got to the scene.
“We want to be very sensitive because this is a tragedy and i would ask the public respect what we’re dealing with,” said Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel, at a press conference Sunday night.
With all this commotion in a relatively calm area of Johnston, neighbors are now concerned about safety. Residents of the Providence Pointe Apartments, where the shooting happened, say they have never seen anything like this before. They are shocked and saddened by the death of one of their neighbors, and they say this is an Easter Sunday they will never forget.
Police flooded the usually quiet neighborhood in Johnston late Saturday night, rifles drawn and on high alert. One neighbor saw it all, including who he believes were family and friends of the victim, Agnes Yarlee.
“All of a sudden they started screaming and crying and it sounded like one of them said, ‘can’t believe this happened, she’s gone’ or something like that,” said Sandro Kamaric. “And then right away, it kind of clicked that somebody died, but we didn’t think that it was murder.”
Chad Stairs, who also lives at the apartment complex, says he is worried, especially for his son’s safety.
“It’s scary for everybody out here when somebody acts like that and carries out an act like that, you don’t want that to happen near you, let alone your family, your children,” Stairs said.
Police believe this was an isolated incident, but they are still reeling from their first homicide in several years.
“We believe this is a domestic incident, we are investigating it as such,” Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel said at a midnight press conference after the shooting. “Violence has occurred in this particular instance and unfortunately the city of Johnston is not immune to domestic violence just as any other community in the nation.”
And what makes this case more tragic for neighbors is when it happened: over Easter weekend.
“Definitely not the time of year you really want to have that happen, especially when you’re celebrating with family,” Stairs said.
“The whole neighborhood kind of just, how do you celebrate when something like that happens so close?” Kamaric said.
Johnston Police say Agnes Yarlee and Abraham Roberts shared an apartment and also have kids together.
Roberts is still with U.S. Customs officials as of Sunday night. Police are working on bringing him back to Iowa, where he will be questioned.