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Allentown gunshot victim’s husband: Shooters ‘have no regard for anybody’

Timothy Johnson of Allentown and his wife were junior high and high school sweethearts in Brooklyn, N.Y.“I first saw her in a crowd and knew right then I had to do anything I could to win her heart,” Johnson said, recalling them together at their school prom.The Johnsons grew up in the inner city, but at a time when children settled “beefs” with their fists. Certainly not with gunfire.“We didn’t go hunting for people to shoot them down in the streets and not caring if the bullets hit anybody else,” Timothy Johnson said, showing facial scars from childhood fistfights in Brooklyn.On Tuesday afternoon, the Johnsons were reminded in a most terrifying way of how times have changed.Johnson and his wife, whose name police have advised him not to release to the news media, sat enjoying their daily afternoon cigarettes on the front porch of their home in the 1000 block of North Ninth Street.“Our 4-year-old grandson couldn’t come out on the porch with us because he was on punishment for disrespecting his grandmother,” Johnson said. “Looking back now on what was about to happen, which we totally weren’t expecting, it was a blessing he was inside.“I got up and left to walk down to the corner store to get more cigarettes,” he said. “My wife was still smoking hers when I left.”About eight minutes later, at 5:53 p.m., Johnson was still in the corner store when he heard a commotion.“I asked people what was going on, if it was a car accident or something,” he said. “They told me it was gunfire. I came out of the store, looked around and saw a big crowd gathered down in front of our house. The first thing out of my mouth was my wife’s name.”Johnson ran back to his front porch and saw his wife surrounded by neighbors. She was bleeding from the lower left side of her back.“I ran up to her and tried to keep her calm, which was hard because I was trying to keep myself calm,” he said. “It was only seconds before the ambulance came and I cleared everyone outta the way to make room for the EMTs. Then, they took her to the hospital.”When he was able to think clearly after learning his wife was in stable condition, Johnson pictured what must have happened.His wife finished and snuffed her cigarette, then got up out of her chair to go back inside as she always did, he surmises. As she was turning to open the door, a group drove by in a car and fired shots intended for another group walking near the couple’s home, police later reported.“And my wife, who had nothing to do with whatever this was, ended up being the one hit,” Johnson said, pointing out one bullet hole in the base of their window frame and another in the back of the chair where his wife always sits. “These guys didn’t even hit who they were aiming at.”Timothy Johnson shows the bullet hole in his Allentown house after Tuesday’s shooting. His wife was the victim of mistaken identity in the shooting, police say. (Andrew Scott / The Morning Call/)The bullet that hit his wife ricocheted off her rib cage through her left lung, partially collapsing it. As of Thursday, she was still in intensive care, but in stable condition, as police continued their investigation. No one has been arrested. “Doctors don’t know how much longer she’ll be in intensive care,” Johnson said, rocking restlessly back and forth in the chair across from the one now sitting empty on the front porch.While thanking God his wife is still alive and that no one else in his family was harmed, Johnson is worried about losing the family home to his wife’s medical bills.“This house was our daughter’s surprise gift to us,” the retired trucker said.In Brooklyn, N.Y., and later in Kissimmee, Fla., the family always rented and never owned.“We got tired of the Florida hurricanes,” Johnson said. “When our house was broken into and my wife’s jewelry got stolen, that was the last straw. So, we decided to come to Pennsylvania and look around for a place. We found this place, where we are now, and fell in love with it. Everything was brand new.”A factory worker like her mother, the couple’s daughter saved up and surprised them with the amount of money needed to close on the first house the couple has owned.“I don’t want to leave here,” Johnson said. “This is our home and I’m not letting what happened chase us out. What happened here can happen anywhere, as sad as that is.“These young people today don’t know how to settle problems in any way other way than shooting each other,” he said. “They have no regard for anybody, not little kids or whoever else might be around when they start blasting away at each other.”Like many other residents, Johnson would like to see venues where teenagers and young adults can channel their rage and aggression in healthier, more constructive ways.“Like a boxing gym,” he said. “You got a beef with somebody, take it in the ring. Don’t shoot them in the streets. Or learn better ways to react when somebody offends you in some way. Why put other people’s lives in danger?”Morning Call reporter Andrew Scott can be reached at 610-820-6508 or
Source: Morningcall

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