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  1. #1

    GA - Timothy Johnson, 7, dead after home invasion, DeKalb County, 16 Sept 2007

    http://tinyurl.com/32pozm

    Just before midnight on Sunday night, someone entered a home on Toney Drive in South DeKalb County, GA. In a bedroom on the upper floor of the house the killer opened fire on a 15-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother.

    The girl is in the hospital this morning, fighting for her life. The boy is dead.

    Five other people, including two other kids, were asleep elsewhere in the house, but they were not harmed.

    Apparently no one saw the attacker, and the gunfire was what woke the rest of the residents.

    No one saw the killer leave.

    At this time DeKalb police have no suspects and no motive for the assault.

    I was struck by several aspects of this story when I heard it on the local news this morning (I live in North Fulton County, GA, also in the Atlanta Metro) --

    * Only the teen girl and her brother -- who happened to be in the same room -- were targeted. FIVE other people were unharmed, AND they didn't see the killer leave?

    * Crimes like this so often seem either/or propositions -- either the whole family is killed, or there is only one victim and the perpetrator is often quickly arrested. It's weird that more than 8 hours into the investigation DeKalb police still have no suspects or motive. It is weird that just two young people were targeted.

    * This happened in Decatur. While there are plenty of parts of DeKalb that aren't nice, Decatur is a decent area. I'm not sure if this was in the more gentrified part of Decatur, though.

    * There was another shooting very early this morning in Dekalb County. It also took place in a suburban area. Still don't know if it was connected. Sadly, shootings in DeKalb and in South Fulton aren't all that uncommon.

    FWIW, I don't think the 7-year-old was an intended target. I'd bet police are examining the teen girl's circle of friends pretty closely at the moment.

    Steve/Mr. A
    Last edited by misterallgood; 09-17-2007 at 07:56 AM. Reason: added some thoughts, bullet points.

  2. #2
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    My heart still is in that area. This is so sad, those poor kids.

    What stood out to me is the shooter went to an upstairs bedroom to shoot these kids. The others were all in downstairs bedrooms, with much easier access. Makes me think the 15 year old was targeted (I can't imagine the 7 year old being the target either).
    The shooter must have known where he was going, or he would have woken the others up most likely, plus he knew to go upstairs. My conclusion: he knew the house and he knew the girl.
    I really hope they're looking at her social circle pretty closely... shouldn't be too hard to catch the shooter from there, IMHO.

  3. #3
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    misterallgood...thanks for posting this story. Didn't realize you are a neighbor (I am in John's Creek).

    On the radio this morning they are saying that they do believe the children were the target. Still no suspects.

    Why would someone target a child like this???

    Why would a 15yo girl and a 7yo boy be sleeping in the same room...maybe she knew something was wrong and she was trying to protect him.

    Did he recently witness a crime? Is he caught in the middle of a divorce case or some other legal problem and someone was afraid he might tell something? I just cannot fathom why someone would target such a young child. It breaks my heart. I pray for the family and for LE that they find the person responsible.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    Did he recently witness a crime? Is he caught in the middle of a divorce case or some other legal problem and someone was afraid he might tell something? I just cannot fathom why someone would target such a young child. It breaks my heart. I pray for the family and for LE that they find the person responsible.
    That's what I thought too... for both of them really. I guess I just don't want to think about a 7 year old being the target.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JanetElaine View Post
    That's what I thought too... for both of them really. I guess I just don't want to think about a 7 year old being the target.
    The little boy being a target would make me think a couple of things:

    -- an adult accused of molestation attempting to eliminate a witness/alleged victim

    -- a parent, either accused of abuse or in the midst of some kind of terrible custody battle.

    News reports here indicated the grandparents and mother were in the home, no mention of a father.

    The teen girl being the target and the brother murdered because he was there could indicate either of the two things above OR a peer with a grudge -- possibly an ex-boyfriend or, who knows, even a stalker.

    angelmom, I've gotten the impression there are quite a few Georgians on this board. I'm a transplant, but I've been here a few years, now. I really like where I live!

    Steve/Mr. A

  6. #6
    Just adding some info -- the shooting occurred at 3141 Toney Dr, according to WSB-TV. That part of Dekalb is actually unincorporated, and not technically in Decatur. The address is owned by a Ralph and Carolyn Johnson. They have lived there for quite some time, so I'd imagine they are the grandparents in this case. It's actually a split-level home with 4 bedrooms -- 3 down, one up?
    Last edited by misterallgood; 09-17-2007 at 09:24 AM. Reason: embedded link in address

  7. #7
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    Thanks Steve, I was wondering where on Toney it might be. Since it's an awfully long street, and a few houses are a bit further away from their neighbors (important in determining if they could have heard/seen anything).

    From the map, can you (anyone) tell if their home is surrounded closely by the neighbors, or if there are big garages there? I'm not certain about what I'm seeing.

    ETA: I see you added a pic of their house... after looking at that and comparing it to the house on the map, it does look like it aren't garages, but the neighbors' homes are very close. Hopefully they have something to help LE out with....
    Last edited by JanetElaine; 09-17-2007 at 09:30 AM. Reason: addition

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JanetElaine View Post
    Thanks Steve, I was wondering where on Toney it might be. Since it's an awfully long street, and a few houses are a bit further away from their neighbors (important in determining if they could have heard/seen anything).

    From the map, can you (anyone) tell if their home is surrounded closely by the neighbors, or if there are big garages there? I'm not certain about what I'm seeing.
    JanetElaine,

    The house can be seen here. No garage on the house where the shooting occurred, and it appears as though there are trees on the lot. I checked the page info metadata for the photo of the house, and it looks as though it was uploaded just yesterday, the 16th. So the house may have just been listed for sale. Says "seller must sell" and that the home needs some TLC.

    Is any of that relevant to the shootings? I don't know. I have to wonder. Ralph and Carolyn had lived there since 1977, according to property records. They list to sell yesterday and just before midnig

    Here's a more accurate Google Map link.

    Steve/Mr. A
    Last edited by misterallgood; 09-17-2007 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Google Map link

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterallgood View Post
    JanetElaine,

    The house can be seen here. No garage on the house where the shooting occurred, and it appears as though there are trees on the lot. I checked the page info metadata for the photo of the house, and it looks as though it was uploaded just yesterday, the 16th. So the house may have just been listed for sale. Says "seller must sell" and that the home needs some TLC.
    Thanks Steve, I saw that in your earlier post (which I didn't see before I posted mine) so that was pretty much cleared up for me.

    Is any of that relevant to the shootings? I don't know. I have to wonder. Ralph and Carolyn had lived there since 1977, according to property records. They list to sell yesterday and just before midnight last night two members of the family are shot? Were the people on Toney Dr trying to get away from someone?

    Steve/Mr. A
    Good question. It's not even listed for too much more than the appraised home value ($120,100) and even though I am by far no expert in real estate, usually people ask quite a bit higher than that. If my reasoning here is correct, could that also point to them wanting to sell fast (which would jive with wanting/trying to get away)?

    ETA: well duh.... you'd think 'seller must sell' would give the urgency away a bit.... sorry.
    Last edited by JanetElaine; 09-17-2007 at 09:44 AM. Reason: to add a late lightbulb moment... duh

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterallgood View Post
    JanetElaine,

    The house can be seen here. No garage on the house where the shooting occurred, and it appears as though there are trees on the lot. I checked the page info metadata for the photo of the house, and it looks as though it was uploaded just yesterday, the 16th. So the house may have just been listed for sale. Says "seller must sell" and that the home needs some TLC.

    Is any of that relevant to the shootings? I don't know. I have to wonder. Ralph and Carolyn had lived there since 1977, according to property records. They list to sell yesterday and just before midnig

    Here's a more accurate Google Map link.

    Steve/Mr. A
    if i am reading the google map correctly it would look like someone could enter the property on the east and stay in the trees til they reached the house or the back yard. i also dont see any yards with a fence so it is less likely to have dogs in the area. no dogs and a wooded lot would help explain why nobody noticed any thing in the area.


  11. #11
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    OMG how awful. To me it sounds like the teen girl was protecting her little brother letting him sleep with her. My youngest is 7 and sometimes when he is scared he will go in his teenage sisters room and ask her if he can sleep with her. I wonder if the urgency in selling the house has anything to do with the murder?

  12. #12
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    I would also be curious to know if the shooting took place in the "possible teen or in-law suite on lower level with private entrance..."

    That might explain why someone was able to enter the home without waking the others in the house.

    If so, who knew the kids slept there?

  13. #13
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    The article Steve posted said the shooter went to an upstairs bedroom.

    The article also mentions it's a two-story home, while the property data lists it as a 1 story. In the pic you can see that it kind of looks split-level on the right hand side.

    I thought the same thing as you did, but I decided to for now believe the article is correct (about the upstairs bedroom).

    Even so though, if it was that room - the shooter had to have known where he was going. Unless he just went into that room and shot whoever was in there, regardless of who they were.

    Which makes it all the more scary, because then it may have been a random burglary gone wrong.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanetElaine View Post
    The article Steve posted said the shooter went to an upstairs bedroom.

    The article also mentions it's a two-story home, while the property data lists it as a 1 story. In the pic you can see that it kind of looks split-level on the right hand side.

    I thought the same thing as you did, but I decided to for now believe the article is correct (about the upstairs bedroom).

    Even so though, if it was that room - the shooter had to have known where he was going. Unless he just went into that room and shot whoever was in there, regardless of who they were.

    Which makes it all the more scary, because then it may have been a random burglary gone wrong.
    Sorry, I missed that part. That really makes me wonder how everyone else slept through. I'm sure you are right.

    Also, how the shooter knew where to go. If it was random, why not shoot everyone in the home? If it were a burglary, wouldn't the police know b/c of things being stolen?

    I wonder what makes LE believe that the children were the targets. So scary and sad for the neighbors and family members!

    Also, who besides the mom and grandparents were in the house? There were two other people unharmed? Do we know who? Is anyone else at risk? I keep thinking of the sisters who were killed days apart, possibly by the same person. They think the second one may have been killed b/c she was helping LE identify her sister's killer.

  15. #15
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    According to Steve's first post:

    Five other people, including two other kids, were asleep elsewhere in the house, but they were not harmed.

    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

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