THE WONDERFUL MISTER JOHNSON
Herman Johnson had a routine. For years, every morning, the 74-year-old retired Los Angeles City worker would step off the porch of his home on Cimarron Street near 36th Place and take a long walk around his Exposition Park neighborhood.
He took the stroll this past Sunday, Oct., 6, but that walk - and his life - ended around 6:20 a.m. at 37th Street and Western Avenue when someone shot him in the back of his head.
"He was a wonderful man, just wonderful," said Eva Mae Smith, 93, who has lived on this quiet block of Cimarron since 1934. "You couldn't ask for a better neighbor."
Sitting on her couch in her immaculate living room, Smith spoke quietly about the kindness of a neighbor she had known for more than 30 years.
"I don't know anyone who could even say one single bad word about Mr. Johnson. He really was wonderful. After my husband passed, he would come over and cut my lawn. He would take the garbage cans out. You would never have to ask him for a favor. He would ask you if you need anything. I can't believe someone would kill Mr. Johnson. Why would someone do something like that to Mr. Johnson? It's terrible how someone could do that to wonderful Mr. Johnson. "
A couple hours later that Sunday morning, Anthony Anderson, 43, was on the small front lawn of his place on East 90th Street near San Pedro Street watering his lawn. when a black male in his 20s appeared on foot. Many shots later, Anderson lay bleeding to death on his driveway, the garden hose still running, splashing him, the water mixing with his blood.
Monday, a small memorial to Anderson was set up in front of the lawn .A cardboard sign read "Rest in Peace Lil Man Gone but not Forgotten."
Across the street a woman said her daughter was friends with the victim, but was too distraught to talk.
A PAIR OF TWO LAST BREATHS
Last Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6:25 p.m., Junius Wilson, 49, was standing on the sidewalk at 108th Street and Browdway when at least two suspects, driving in a light color compact vehicle, stopped nearby. One suspect exited the car, approached Wilson and starting shooting with a handgun. The suspect then fled to the waiting vehicle.
Wilson collapsed on the sidewalk, but managed to get up and stumbled into the courtyard parking lot of the 108 Motel. He ran past the stunned motel manager, Bhupen Patel, who was at the motel office window.
"This man came running. saying like 'Oh, oh'. and fell face down right there," said Patel, pointing to the front doors of rooms 101 and 102. "He was shot in the chest, He was breathing a little. then he took two final breaths."
Sixteen hours later, one block away, a resident on Olive Street north of 107th Street saw another man take his final two breaths.
36-year-old Deandre Jackson was walking north Friday morning on Olive Street next to the Harbor Freeway when least two black male suspects In a dark color midsize vehicle stopped nearby. One suspect exited the car and began shooting at Jackson who was struck by the gunfire. The suspect re-entered the vehicle which sped away.
"My husband and I heard the shots, woke up and opened the front door and there he was laying right there.," said Tawana Perry from the small front porch of her unit as she pointed to the sidewalk four feet away. "His head was back, his eyes were open. My husband was saying 'Come on. come on. Stay with us'. But, then he took two last breaths."
On the exterior wall of Perry's unit and on a metal fence at the sidewalk, there were four large bullet holes. Some of the large caliber bullets came through the wall into the bedroom of Perry's daughter who was inside sleeping. "I'm still scared," said the 20-year-old daughter, shielding herself behind her mom.
This morning, Oct. 8th, Nery Chigua, 27, took his mother to a bus stop on Vermont Avenue and 82nd Street. As he was driving east, returning to his home on 82nd near Hoover Street, he was shot to death.
Two residents reported hearing six gunshots, No one was home at the small house where Chiqua was said to be living. By 11 a.m., about five hours after the shooting, there was no indication to suggest that anything usually bad had happened at all on this Southside corner other than a mess of shattered glass on the street.