DELLWOOD • Police have arrested three men and a boy in the slaying Monday night of an Imo’s pizza deliveryman in Dellwood.
The delivery driver, Brian W. Johnson, 39, of St. Louis County, was found slumped behind the steering wheel of his car about 7:10 p.m. in the 1600 block of Mowbry Lane. Police say he had been shot once under his left armpit and was dead when officers arrived.
St. Louis County Police Officer Randy Vaughn said the motive appeared to be robbery. Vaughn said three pizzas and a cellphone were taken from Johnson. Police didn’t know whether any money was taken.
Johnson, of the 12800 block of Meadowdale Drive, worked out of the Imo’s location at Chambers and Halls Ferry roads, police said. Johnson was called to deliver the pizzas to an address on Mowbry Lane, Monday night.
“He was set up,” Vaughn said.
Someone on nearby Saffron Drive heard gunfire and called 911.
St. Louis County police arrested one man in the 10000 block of Baron Drive near Chambers Road, more than a mile from the shooting scene. Police arrested three others later Tuesday, but charges had not been filed as of Tuesday evening.
Vaughn said three of those in custody were adults; the fourth was a juvenile.
John Coppersmith, owner of the Imo’s where Johnson worked, said Johnson had been part of the Imo’s family for about two decades.
Johnson’s sister, Kris Johnson, 32, of Kirkwood, said her family was shocked and saddened.
“My brother died over three pizzas,” she said. “This senseless act of violence is just heart-wrenching. The people that did this are, for lack of a better term, animals. He’d never hurt anybody. He was just so gentle, just a cool, genuine guy.”
She said her brother attended Hazelwood East High School and has worked for Imo’s since he was a teenager.
She said he loved music and played bass guitar in two rock bands, allowing him to perform in the St. Louis area in the late 1990s and tour the East Coast through the mid-2000s.
She said Imo’s allowed him to return to his job delivering pizzas after he stopped playing music professionally.
He had worked at the Imo’s on Chambers Road for about three years.
It’s the second time in six months that an Imo’s driver has been fatally shot in an apparent robbery in north St. Louis County.
Another Imo’s delivery driver — Daniil Maksimenko, 22, of Ballwin — was shot to death as he stopped his car to make a delivery in Hillsdale on May 19. That shooting was in the 2200 block of Erick Avenue, about five miles south of Monday night’s killing.
Three men have been charged with second-degree murder in Maksimenko’s death. Police questioned a fourth man and released him without charges.