Man Dies After He's Shot, Crashes Into Boardwalk
A local security guard who reportedly shared information with police may have been lured last weekend to the quiet spot in Far Rockaway where he was shot several times and then crashed his car into the boardwalk in a desperate attempt to escape.
Ocie Johnson, 28, was pronounced dead at St. John's Episcopal Hospital at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, August 6, about an hour after he was shot as he sat in his red Acura on Beach 28 Street near Seagirt Avenue, according to police sources. The first EMS workers on the scene thought they were rescuing a crash victim until they reached Johnson and realized he had bullet wounds to his face, neck and hand.
A witness who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he heard two muffled sounds at about 11:20 p.m. Saturday and then saw Johnson's sports car race by.
"The car came barreling down and crashed under the boardwalk," the witness said. Later, the witness realized the sounds were gunshots.
The Wave interviewed Johnson's stunned girlfriend, Niagara McKay, and her mother, Pamela, by telephone and at our office this week. McKay said her boyfriend, a security guard at the Dix McBride Apartments in Far Rockaway, would never have gone to the spot where he was killed by himself.
"I think it was a setup," said McKay. "Someone was in the car with him, somebody he was cool with."
Police were checking Johnson's cell phone records and reviewing surveillance cameras at his job this week, sources said. The Dix McBride Apartments, also called Pinkfern because of the buildings' color and proximity to the Redfern Houses, is rife with illegal activity. A major undercover investigation at Dix McBride and Redfern earlier this year resulted in 43 people being charged with drug and weapons possession.
McKay, who was living with Johnson and his 6-year-old daughter at the Hammels Houses, described her boyfriend as a hardworking man who tried to stay out of the trouble on the streets.
"He wasn't a drug dealer, he wasn't a hustler, he wasn't a gambler," McKay told The Wave. "He's not a street person."
But Johnson was reportedly a confidential informant who helped police in criminal investigations, something that can be just as risky as gangbanging. The New York Post reported Monday that unnamed "authorities" confirmed that Johnson was an informant. Police sources interviewed by The Wave seemed surprised by the Post report and said the identities of confidential informants are closely guarded and shared only on a strict, need-to-know basis with other investigators - not the public or members of the press. Those who knew Johnson said he wasn't cooperating with police.
"We read that but that's not true," Pamela McKay said. "We don't know who the Post spoke to or who gave them that story," she said. "The [police] didn't tell us that they knew anything about that."
Pamela said Niagara is "frantic" because of the different rumors circulating on the street.
"We don't know if someone is going to come back looking for her," Pamela said.
"I'm pretty sure that if these people knew [Johnson] and he knew them, then they know me," Niagara said.
But foremost on Niagara's mind was Johnson's death, his daughter's future and the funeral arrangement. Niagara spoke to The Wave about the commitment she and Johnson shared and the times they enjoyed recently going to restaurants and swimming at a relative's pool.
"We held each other up," she said. "We talked about spending the rest of our lives together."
"Right now, I'm lost," Niagara said. "I loved him and I want him back. I just have this big question mark on why would anyone do that to him."
Detectives were investigating at press time and an arrest had not been made. Anyone with information is asked to call the 101 Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 868-3428 or (800) 577-TIPS.