Third suspect in Chippewa Falls armed robbery charged

Two people were hurt in the robbery on Jan. 21 in Chippewa Falls.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:20 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - A third suspect in an armed robbery on Jan. 21 in Chippewa Falls is charged.

18-year-old Solomon Ward of Chippewa Falls received the same charges as 20-year-old Jeremiah Maki of Eau Claire and 23-year-old Elijah Johnson, also of Chippewa Falls. All three are each charged as a party to a crime with armed robbery with the use of force, two counts of substantial battery with the use of a dangerous weapon, and one charge each of false imprisonment with the use of a dangerous weapon, criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor theft, according to online court records.

The four felony and two misdemeanor charges are against each of Maki, Johnson and Ward, who are accused of breaking into a Chippewa Falls apartment and injuring two people just after midnight on Jan. 21. Maki and Johnson were charged in late January.

In documents filed with the charges in Chippewa County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Chippewa Falls Police went to a home on the 700 block of Harding Avenue in Chippewa Falls at 12:20 a.m. after a 911 call from a woman reported an armed robbery at her apartment. When officers arrived to the apartment, they found the door and doorframe had been broken by force. The two people inside of the apartment had injuries to their head. One of the victims said that he was hit in the face with a pistol by Johnson and fell to the floor, while the second victim said Johnson hit her in the head with the gun. The male victim said he stood up and said that Johnson pointed a gun at him and said that he would shoot him if he moved. Maki, Johnson, and Ward took a PlayStation 5 and a controller for the game system and left. Both victims were taken by ambulance to a hospital. The male victim needed 15 stitches and had a broken tooth, while the female victim needed staples for a large cut on her head.

Johnson (left) Maki (right)

According to the criminal complaint, the victims knew the three men, and that one of the victims had been fighting with Johnson on social media. Both victims told investigators that when Johnson arrived, he was apparently upset over something that the male victim had said to him before Johnson hit him in the face with a pistol. Johnson told investigators that Maki kicked in the door and admitted striking the male victim twice and the female victim once, but said he didn’t have his gun with him. Maki said that Johnson was the one who told him to kick in the door, so he did, and said that Johnson did have a gun with him. He also said that he didn’t take anything from the apartment, but told investigators that he pawned the PlayStation 5 in St. Paul, Minn. Ward said that Maki took the PlayStation 5, and told investigators that he took a controller for the gaming console but later threw it into a snowbank. Johnson’s gun and ammunition were taken by police from his apartment with his consent. The PlayStation 5 was returned to police by Maki and the controller was also found.

A media release from the Chippewa Falls Police Department said that later on Jan. 21, at 6:39 p.m., the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office found and arrested Johnson. Two days later, on Jan. 23, Maki came to the Chippewa Falls Police Department and was arrested. Police said in the release that the robbery was not a random act and that the people involved knew each other, and had been arguing on social media before the incident.

Ward was released on a $200 cash bond on Jan. 26 and is scheduled to appear in court March 7 for his initial appearance. Maki was released on a $1,000 cash bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 23 for a pre-trial conference. Johnson was released on a $2,500 cash bond and is scheduled in court on March 1 for a review hearing. Conditions of bond for all three men include no contact with each other or with either of the victims.