‘Good Samaritan’ Shot Dead By Driver He Was Trying To Help After Crash, Cops Say

Javier Yanez heard a crash outside his home and went to help. When he got to the car of Lionel Eaton, one of the drivers involved, police say Eaton pulled out a gun and opened fire.

By Gina Tron
Lionel Eaton Pd

An allegedly enraged driver who police say had just crashed into multiple vehicles is accused of gunning down a father of four who ran out of his Minnesota home after hearing the commotion.

Javier S. Yanez, 31, ran out of his home in Saint Paul after hearing the crash involving 27-year-old suspect Lionel Keejuan Eaton and three other cars, according to the Saint Paul Police Department.

"When officers arrived, they found four vehicles that had been involved in the crash, an uninjured woman whose vehicle had been rear ended, a good Samaritan suffering gunshot wounds and the suspect, who was driving another vehicle involved in the crash," they noted.

Eaton had allegedly rear-ended the female driver of another vehicle, which caused her car to crash into an unoccupied parked vehicle. The suspect then hit another parked car, police say.

Police said Yanez ran out and attempted to help both drivers.

"The suspect then began to shoot from inside his vehicle and struck the victim in the head," police wrote.

Neighbor Maya Thompson said Yanez was shot four times as he opened the hatchback of Eaton's car to check on him.

“We were just telling the guy to come out," neighbor Maya Thompson told KARE11 in Minneapolis. "We just wanted to make sure he was OK."

Yanez was pronounced dead at the scene, police say.

Eaton has been charged with one count of second-degree murder by drive-by shooting, and one count of third-degree murder. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.

His mother allegedly said he has been acting “paranoid and erratic” lately and expressing fears that someone wanted him murdered, according to a complaint obtained by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Eaton has a criminal history that includes a misdemeanor conviction in 2016 for possession of a pistol without a permit, the Pioneer Press reports.

Thompson said Yanez has four kids under the age of 7 and lived with his wife. She said he was "a good friend, a good neighbor, a good man." 

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