published Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Chattanooga shooting victim called good person

The daughter of shooting victim Barbara Johnson is comforted as she reacts to the sight of medical personnel removing her mother's body Friday morning. Johnson was shot to death on Rawlings Street in the early morning hours Friday. Police were on the scene until about 9:30 am.
The daughter of shooting victim Barbara Johnson is comforted as she reacts to the sight of medical personnel removing her mother's body Friday morning. Johnson was shot to death on Rawlings Street in the early morning hours Friday. Police were on the scene until about 9:30 am.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Four hours after she was gunned down, 45-year-old Barbara Johnson's body still lay on the street, her head resting on the curb.

She is the city's latest shooting fatality -- Chattanooga's ninth of the year -- taking two gunshot wounds above her neck about 4 a.m. Friday as she was walking with a man known as "Too Tall," and two women in the 2000 block of Rawlings Street, police say.

Just before 8 a.m. a small crowd gathered to watch investigators collect evidence and meticulously map the scene.

"They still got her laying out. Bless her heart," said 45-year-old Annette Morris Beach, Johnson's cousin. "I just seen her yesterday. She wanted to come stay with me."

As of Friday afternoon, investigators still were looking for witnesses and a suspect who was seen wearing black and fleeing.

Nearby residents said Johnson struggled with addiction to crack cocaine and she never stayed in one place too long, but never seemed to bother others. Many wondered why anyone would hurt her or choose to kill her by shooting her point blank.

Johnson's arrest record dates back to 1995 in Hamilton County and she has charges ranging from prostitution to drug possession and domestic assault.

"She did her own thing," said Rhonda Vaughn, who lives on North Orchard Knob, about a block away from the shooting scene. "She never took nothing from nobody. She was a good person."

Demarcus Husband, 23, was killed earlier this year when he was shot in the face in Vaughn's front yard during a gang shooting.

Vaughn's cousin, Steve Mosley, 38, was killed earlier this week on North Hawthorne Street during what police are calling a botched drug robbery.

On Friday, Johnson's daughter, Camilla Green, lingered behind the yellow crime scene tape on Rawlings, clutching her face as people came to console her. She declined to comment.

When Chattanooga police investigators removed Johnson's body 51/2 hours after the shooting and loaded it into an ambulance, Green moaned, "No," as she was led away by her mother's boyfriend, Lorenzo Harper.

"She was with me all day yesterday," Harper said. "That's my wife, right there. I don't know what the deal is. I wish I could just touch her one more time."

Anyone with any information can contact Chattanooga police at 698-2525.

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