Last night we had Newark Mayor Cory Booker on the program to talk about a milestone for his crime-plagued city: March was Newark's first murder-free calendar month in 44 years.
That got me wondering: who was the last homicide victim before the relief of March? His name was Rodney Anthony Johnson, and he was killed during what Newark Police believe was an attempted robbery on Sunday, February 28th. The Newark Star-Ledger has the story of his death:
Officers responding to a 911 call around 2:40 a.m. on Sunday found Rodney Johnson bleeding from a gunshot wound to his upper torso in the 1000 block of 18th Avenue, said city police spokesman Detective Hubert Henderson. The 32-year-old was taken to University Hospital, according to Henderson, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
A Newark PD public information officer told me the crime remains unsolved.
Johnson's family laid him to rest on March 11th. Here's how they described him in his obituary:
Rodney Anthony Johnson fondly called "Tony" departed this life on Sunday, February, 28, 2010 in University of Medicine and Dentistry Medical Center, Newark, New Jersey. Tony the son of the late Lauriston and Chineta Johnson was born June 2, 1977. He attended the public schools of Bridgeton, New Jersey. He received his GED from the Job Corp. Tony worked at Wal-Mart in Bridgeton, New Jersey as a Front End Manager. He also worked at Burlington Coat Factory in New Brunswick, NJ, in a Managerial Position. His last place of employment was with Kelly Temp Agency in the Mail Room. Tony knew the Lord as he attended Bethel Pentecostal Church with his parents. As a child it grew on him to praise the Lord in song and dance. While at Bethel he was a member of the choir an excellent devotional leader, and he learned to play the tambourine, he attended Sunday School with his father who was the superintendent. He loved attending Mount Sinai Holy Church of America National Youth Convention, in fact Tony loved the Lord and His people. In addition to his parents Tony was preceded in death by one sister, Gloria. He leaves to cherish his memories: one brother, Richard Johnson of Bridgeton, New Jersey; one sister, Yvonne Jennette of Bridgeton, New Jersey; two aunts, Cutie Mae Ellis of Bridgeton, NJ and Aunt G. of London, England; several other relatives and friends.