Two People Charged in the Murder of Restaurant Owner
July 14, 2023
ST. LOUIS, MO—Federal authorities have charged two people in connection with the robbing and killing of a Chinese restaurant owner in St. Louis on May 30 around 10 p.m.
LaRob Harris and MeKayla Johann are accused of robbing and killing Fa Ming Pan, the owner of St. Louis Kitchen and injuring a restaurant employee. Court documents say Johann worked at the restaurant since June 2021.
Pan was shot in the stomach and was in his early 30s.
According to an affidavit filed earlier this month, an unidentified person ambushed Pan and one of his employees as they were closing the restaurant for the day, first robbing them of several thousand dollars in restaurant earnings before shooting them multiple times.
John Walker, a former employee, said Pan was a wonderful person and will be missed dearly.
“His wife had to go home and tell her kids, you know, that their daddy died,” Walker told FOX2Now.
Pan later picked up the English name “Randy” and worked long hours at St. Louis Kitchen for over 10 years.
“Randy was a good guy, helped anybody; you know, give anybody a job,” Walker said. “I left like 2021, but me and him stayed in touch. I just talked to him on Mother’s Day.”
Court documents also show Johann spoke on the phone with an unidentified third person several times, both before and after the shooting. Phone records link both individuals to the scene of the crime.
Authorities later discovered that shell casings recovered at the scene matched a weapon found during a search of a home on Venture Drive.
The unidentified third person involved in the crime is actually connected to multiple crimes throughout the city and was arrested on May 31 in connection with a different armed robbery earlier in the month, according to KMOV4.
Once in custody, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department detectives interviewed Harris. He stated he was armed with a Glock 23 pistol and went to the St. Louis Kitchen with the unidentified person on May 30.
Harris said he approached the alley behind the restaurant “when he heard four to five gunshots.” That’s when he said he allegedly shot his pistol, but he thought he shot it in the air and not at Pan.
Harris also told detectives that he, Johann, and the third suspect got into his car and drove to the residence on Venture Drive, which is where police later found the weapon connected to the crime, according to the affidavit.
Johann denied being involved in the robbery and the homicide when she was interviewed by detectives. She claimed she heard gunshots and got a ride away from the scene with a stranger. She later requested an attorney.
The robbery conspiracy and robbery charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The discharge of a firearm charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The discharge of a firearm resulting in death charge carries a penalty of life in prison or the death sentence, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Missouri.
Last year, St. Louis was ranked the most dangerous city in the United States, according toForbes. St. Louis has a 44.6% African-American population. The safest large city in the United States is Honolulu with a 42% Asian-American population and a 2.8% African-American population.