A Salem man has been charged with murder in a 2018 shooting at a Hollins-area house party.

Patrick Joseph McDonald, 29, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Keonte Johnson, who was shot at a home on Enon Drive. Two other people were injured.

An argument between Johnson and McDonald escalated into a fight in the early morning of May 14, 2018, William Braxton, a senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said at a bond hearing Wednesday in Roanoke County Circuit Court.

“The exact sequence of events is difficult to suss out, due to the high intoxication of the witnesses,” Braxton said.

It was the first time Johnson had visited the home, where McDonald lived at the time in a basement apartment, he said.

Many partygoers had left before 5 a.m. after police had been called on a noise complaint, Braxton said. By the time the sun rose, Johnson and about five others remained in the house.

After the argument became a physical fight, Johnson got a gun from his car and went back to the house, Braxton told the court.

McDonald then took out a gun and fired 11 rounds from the kitchen onto the porch, killing Johnson almost immediately and injuring two others, Braxton said.

It wasn’t clear whether Johnson fired any shots.

In asking for leniency in the bond hearing, Matthew Dunne, McDonald’s attorney, pointed to his client’s military service and lack of criminal record.

“This incident is a very strong case of self-defense,” Dunne said.

Since McDonald’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 2012, he has suffered trauma from tours in Afghanistan and Libya, Dunne told the court.

Dunne said McDonald moved to the Roanoke area after being discharged from the service, in which he received 12 medals, including a Purple Heart.

Judge James Swanson asked if McDonald was taking medication for PTSD.

McDonald shook his head no. Dunne replied that McDonald has attended the VA hospital and been treated for shrapnel in his shoulder.

Roanoke County police spokeswoman Amy Whittaker said Wednesday there are no additional suspects in the shooting. She said she couldn’t confirm whether McDonald would face any additional charges in the shooting.

McDonald was released Wednesday on a $35,000 bond.

Get breaking news delivered straight to your inbox with our email newsletter.

Henri Gendreau covers crime in Roanoke and the surrounding area.

Recommended for you