Former NFL running back Chris Johnson is accused of hiring a gang member to kill two men in 2016 in retaliation for a shooting that left the sports star severely wounded and his friend dead a year earlier in Orlando, according to a report by TMZ Sports, citing newly obtained court documents.
Johnson, 34, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who retired from the league in 2017, has not been formally charged and denies the allegations cited in court records by the Florida state attorney’s office.
Johnson tweeted about the matter Thursday, saying “False news!!!!!”
The allegations appear to be based mostly on claims by an undercover informant who told authorities that Johnson rewarded the alleged gunman, identified as Dominic Bolden, “with funds” for carrying out two separate 2016 executions.
The informant said the alleged murder-for-hire earned Bolden clout that propelled him up the ranks of a major drug trafficking organization in Florida.
“There’s no validity to any of these accusations,” Johnson’s representative told TMZ Thursday.
Prosecutors allege that Johnson paid Bolden to kill the two men who allegedly carried out a drive-by shooting on Johnson’s Jeep, killing his friend, Dreekius Johnson, early on March 8, 2015.
Chris Johnson was wounded in the shoulder but fully recovered.
Police at the time said Johnson was “uncooperative” with the investigation, according to The New York Post.
The 2015 shooting happened during the NFL offseason when Johnson was a free agent and several months before he signed a one-year, $2.56 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
The alleged retaliatory shootings were carried out separately — one on Jan. 19, 2016; and the second on July 24, 2016.
Both 2016 victims were believed to be responsible for the March 2015 shooting, which authorities later determined to be a “gang-related murder attempt” on Chris Johnson, the Post reported. Johnson was in the front passenger seat, where the shooting left “numerous bullet holes.”
Known to his fans as CJ2K, Johnson rushed for 9,561 yards in 10 seasons.
His career began with the Tennessee Titans, where he played from 2008 to 2013. From there, he moved on to the New York Jets for one season in 2014. He played his final three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals from 2015 to 2017.
In 2009, he was the NFL’s rushing leader with 2,006 yards, and he also won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year honors. The closest to him that year was Thomas Jones with 1,402 yards.
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