2005-01-21 / Community

Family Marks Painful Anniversary

The family of Tommy Johnson – the promising teenage student and football player shot and killed in Arverne in 2001 – marked the fourth year of his killing last week with a memorial breakfast and gravesite visit.

“We still take that day off from work to remember our son. We go to the grave site and decorate, and have our moments out there,” Johnson’s mother, Juanita, told The Wave. “It’s still heartbreaking,” she said.

The Johnson family had kept a memorial on a utility pole at the scene of the shooting – Beach 57 Street and Beach Channel Drive – until it was burned down shortly after the teen who killed Johnson was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life.

In the years since the shooting, Johnson’s mother has found comfort in the support she received from others: Dashia and Dashien, twins who attended Christ the King High School with Johnson, left a dozen roses at his gravesite. The school remembers Johnson with an annual memorial breakfast.

Then there are people such as Mary Kelly, who has “become like a part of my family,” Juanita said, and the Dayton woman, who stopped by Juanita’s workplace to share her condolences. The faculty and students at PS 114 also reached out to the family.

“It made me feel so good that people still care,” Juanita told The Wave. She added that her mother, Aggie Jenkins, who died one year and three days before her son, is with Tommy in heaven.

Johnson is survived by his father Thomas Sr., mother, Juanita, brothers, Jeffrey, Travis and Tysean, and a sister, Tiarra.

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