2002-01-26 / Front Page

A Year Later, The Pain Still Lingers

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms












Family, friends and members of the community gathered to pay tribute to slain Christ The King football superstar Thomas Kareem Johnson on January 10, 2002. Family, friends and members of the community gathered to pay tribute to slain Christ The King football superstar Thomas Kareem Johnson on January 10, 2002.

A memorial was held on the morning of January 10, 2002 at the corner of Beach 57 Street and Beach Channel Drive, which marked the anniversary of the death of Christ The King High School football superstar Thomas Kareem Johnson.

Bishop Rubin and Lisa Mitchell led the event, along with the parents of the murdered athlete. A prayer was offered, and a moment of silence was observed afterward. Once the ceremony ended, the attendees then went to the cemetery to leave flowers.

Juanita Johnson, mother of the victim, stated, " One whole year. Where did it go? Oh my God. It seems like only yesterday to me. The good son, so young, whose life was taken too soon, but he will never be forgotten. We love him so much. Only God provides us with the strength to get through this."

One of the football coaches for Christ The King High School, affectionately known as "Coach Howie", attended the memorial with his wife Crystal.

The coach stated, "Christ The King High School flew its flag at half staff and took part in a memorial service in the school auditorium. We honored his memory with a moment of silence."

Mary Dever, of the Rockaway Action Committee, who was instrumental in organizing a march in honor of Johnson last year, contacted the Johnson family to offer condolences, as did Eileen Venezia, the Assistant Principal of P.S. 114.

Travis Johnson, age 11, wrote a poem to honor his brother's memory. He submitted it to The Wave, and it reads as follows:

One Half of My Heart
My heart is one half
Because I am missing
A brother who I love very much.
Now, I am deeply hurt.
I looked up to you brother
No, I could never get another.
At your football game
I was your biggest fan,
When your team needed to score
Coach put you in; you was the man.
Brother as I look up in the sky,
I see my other half to my heart
It was then, that I wish I could fly
Although you are one of the latest
To me, you are the world's greatest.

Christ The King High School and P.S. 114 have set up the Tommy Kareem Johnson Scholarship Award to honor their former student. Anyone wishing to obtain more information on the award can contact Christ The King High School, (718) 366-7400, or P.S. 114, (718) 634-3382.


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