Family of murdered Lynchburg man holds vigil


LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - The mother of 21-year-old Shawn Johnson, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Lynchburg last weekend, spoke out Friday night.

She and other family members held a vigil where her son died, in front of the Ellington theater on Rivermont Avenue.

A small gathering Friday lit candles and brought flowers to remember yet another young man taken by gun violence in Lynchburg.

"He did what he could for everybody, he wouldn't say no," said Johnson's mother Valarie Turpin.

Turpin says her son was loved by many in the Rivermont neighborhood.

"He loved his fishing and his hunting, and he loved coaching those 11 and 12's kids," said Turpin.

Johnson coached football, and team mom Ebony Brown says, he was one of the best.

"He was great, the boys loved him. Our last game last Saturday they won, I think it was 6 to 7," said Brown.

This isn't the first time Johnson's family has mourned the loss of a loved one.

In 2011, Johnson's cousin, Brian Patterson, was also shot and killed in Lynchburg.

"To go through it again is like, a nightmare," said Johnson's cousin Amber Ward.

For members of the community who knew Johnson, that nightmare is all too real.

"I saw his picture the other day, and the smile that he had on his face is the smile he has right now," said Pastor Carl Hutcherson, from First Baptist Church.

The group said a short prayer before releasing balloons in Johnson's honor.

"It's not always the quantity of life, but the quality of life that makes the difference," said Hutcherson.

His mother says if anything positive can come from her son's death, it's that her community will do a better job supporting one another.

"We've got to talk to each other, we've got to talk to the youth. We've just got to be there for them, and show them that this is not the way," said Turpin.