Reporting Mary Bubala
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.