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Family Of 12-Year-Old Murder Victim Wants ‘Conspiracy Of Silence’ To End

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore child was gunned down sitting on a front porch. There was outrage but no arrests. Someone knows who killed Sean Johnson, but they’re afraid to talk.

Mary Bubala talked with Johnson’s mother about the conspiracy of silence that allows his killers to walk free.

Twelve-year-old Sean Johnson shouldn’t be dead. The 12-year-old honor student who loved football had never been in trouble.

“He was a good kid,” said Johnson’s mother, Shawnta Little.

But on a warm May night as he watched the NBA playoffs on a porch in Lake Clifton with a few of his friends, a gunman turned the corner and opened fire. Bullets hit all of them. His three best friends survived but Johnson died.

His mother struggles to go on.

WJZ’s investigation reveals that this shooting was a tragic case of mistaken identity. Police now tell us that a gang targeting someone else, just two streets away, shot Johnson and his friends instead.

“They said they were looking for other people in the neighborhood and they thought that was them and they just started firing,” Little said.

Six months after his death, Little is finally able to talk about that night.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the pain that I am feeling right now,” she said.

The pain is worse because the killer is still out there. No witnesses are coming forward and there are no real leads in the case.

“Open your mouth. I’m not afraid; why would you be?” said neighbor John Ward.

But people are afraid. John Ward’s grandson is one of Sean’s friends shot that night. He says witness intimidation and the “stop snitching” culture prevent people from coming forward with information.

“Somebody knows who it is right now. Suppose it was their brother or their sister or even their mother or a little baby. How would they feel? What would they want?” Ward said.

“It’s frustrating, right?” said Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.

Bealefeld and Mary Bubala walked the neighborhood where Johnson was gunned down. He says people know who pulled the trigger, but they won’t speak up.

“The bottom line is someone, right now, someone that’s going to hear this story knows exactly where the guns are. There were two guns used in this case. People know exactly who pulled the trigger,” Bealefeld said.

And for Johnson’s mother, every day that passes without a suspect in her son’s murder is a day that a killer walks among them.

“To be gunned down in the street when you have done nothing to no one but just trying to live your life as best you can…just stop the violence. Should no parent feel the pain that I am feeling right now,” Little said.

If you know anything about Johnson’s murder, please call police at 410-396-2100. You can remain anonymous.

More from Mary Bubala
  • crazyldy

    Alot of people in baltimore are gullible poor and uneducated. Criminals take advantage of that to make them shut up. There has to be a way to contact police that settles thier fears.And baltimore police need to address the concerns of people who do complain. I called for months on someone and they investigated them six months afterward.. they went to jail.

  • willie joe

    This is glaring behaviour of ignorant low class people who are easily intimidated or worse yet, actually buy into that street thug creed of “Snitchin”. Anyone who has information about a murder should not divulge it to the police until they have written assurances that they & their families are well protected even if it means relocation.

  • Leonard

    I honestly don’t believe it has much to do with class or education. People know right from wrong. It’s so easy to spout out judgment when the bottom line is living in the ghetto is a whole different situation with it’s own rules. Did we or did we not have a Baltimore City police officer busted for operating a drug ring? How are these people to know which cop is trust worthy? Did we not also have a young lady and her daughter killed in witness protection. 11 years ago I moved my family out of the ghetto. When you have police on the take, slow responce, drug dealers, snitches working for them, gangs, and guns every where and children to raise you tell me, honestly if doing the right thing may and more than likely will get your family member killed what do you do? Please stop judging these people. Many are hard working honest people just can’t afford to live in a better place. It was only by the grace of God I made it out.

  • Leonard

    Keep in mind the biggest shot callers are truly cowardly. They are the ones who thrive on ignorance. They are the ones recruiting these young ignorant people to carry out heinous crimes so they can build up street credibility. They are the ones breaking off crackheads a couple rocks to torch peoples houses and vandalize thier property and shoot bullets into their homes to send messages. The police know, and the good ones who want to do something generally have their hands tied. I personally know a policeman who chased down a dealer after witnessing him make a transaction. Took the drugs off of his person arrested him put the money and drugs in evidence and the dealer got off on a technicality. These poor people are not safe. Victims have no legal rights! The only one the law truly protects is the criminal, not you not me. This 12 year old boy is not and was not protected under the law, he’s dead! But if his killer is caught, he has a right to an attorney, he has a right to a fair trial by his peers, he is safe from cruel and inhumane treatment, he has a right to three meals a day and a place to sleep at our expense mind you. While we look down our noses at these poor ignorant low class people far removed form the comfort and saftey of our homes.

  • Leonard

    I’ve been awakened at 3 in the morning on a work night to gunfire low crawling to my childrens room to check on them, I’ve had bullets enter into my home by a random shooting that had nothing to do with me or my family. I’ve had to confront drug dealers who threatened my son and his family because he was seen talking to a police officer and all the officer was doing was chit chatting with the children playing in front of my building. I could have wound up killed rolling up on this dude but what else could I have done? Let him think he owned my son so he could try to recruit him in a couple years from then? I’m a big dude and ok with my hands but what about that dude who is 120 lbs soaking wet? Now I’m in my 40’s I think twice about allot of things. Not protecting my family but how I go about doing it.

  • Crazy!

    These people only want people to snitch when it benefits them. Bet they saw lots of things go on in the neighborhood over the years, and they kept their mouth shut about it.

  • GM

    Even knowing I may be killed, I would have to tell what I know as my guilt over not telling would kill me anyhow. We need to do what God wants us to do, no matter what happens.

  • Marty

    Maybe one day when Baltimores courts actually put criminals away people will talk. Tell the Police who did it, testify in court and see him back on the street next month.

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