SIBA shooter convicted of first degree assault

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The man who shot a financial aid advisor at Stevens Institute of Business and Arts in downtown St. Louis is headed to prison. A guilty verdict came down late Wednesday afternoon.

Sean Johnson admitted to shooting Greg Elsenrath, but claims he'd zoned out and didn't remember pulling the trigger. In court, Johnson said when he came to, he realized what he'd done.

He was a student at SIBA. In January 2013, he shot Elsenrath after a dispute about his financial aid. After he met with Elsenrath that day, he left and came back with a pistol. Prosecutors tell us the dispute was over about $700.

He admitted to pulling the trigger. We learned in court that Johnson was only about six feet away from his victim when he shot him, and then he shot himself in the stomach while trying to get away in a stairwell about 15 feet away.

Wednesday, a jury convicted him of first degree assault, which covers attempted murder, and armed criminal action.

"We did everything we possibly could to make sure he received a fair trial. And we believe that's what happened," said Assistant Circuit Attorney Martin Minnigerode. "And ultimately I believe a very dangerous man was held accountable for a very dangerous act. And I hope that gives some peace to the Elsenrath family."

Johnson's family tells us he was diagnosed as bipolar when he was 16, and they're not sure if he'd been taking his meds when the shooting happened.

"Sean Johnson is not a monster," his sister Altavize Johnson said. "Sean Johnson is a sweet, loving person that you could get anything from. He just needs help. He doesn't need to be locked away. He needs some help."

Johnson was evaluated by a doctor of his choosing, but his mental illness was not used as a defense.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 23.


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