Identity of Columbus Pawn employee who was shot and killed release

UPDATE:

12/22/17 12:54 p.m. --The victim has been identified as 68-year-old Joseph Howard Johnson, III. Buddy Bryan, the Muscogee County Coroner, confirmed this to News 3.

Bryan said Johnson was actually supposed to be off that day.

Johnson is a retired military veteran.


(ORIGINAL STORY)

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Two suspects are in custody after Columbus Police say they shot and killed a Columbus pawn shop employee during an attempted robbery.

News 3 knows the victim's identity, but the Muscogee County Coroner's Office has not been able to notify the victim's family.

The only way for the suspects to enter the shop was by hitting a button near the door and then an employee inside must buzz them in.

Community members like Jason Smith who work near the pawn shop describe the victim as a kind man who showed up to work every day.

"Let's see if we can do something for this community to stop this crime," Smith said. "I don't want anyone else to die and that man's family is hurting this morning."

Smith got to the scene just moments after the man was killed and made it in time to help another employee who was also shot.

"He was coming back across the street just asking for help and when I grabbed him I saw some bullet holes and scrapes in his arm," Smith said.

Smith knows what the victim's family is going through. In November, his son, Kuamane Ford, was killed in a shooting on Sherwood Avenue in Columbus.

"You know it's still terrifying," he said. "I don't want to see anyone lose their child no more. Watching his mom cry constantly it still hurts to this day."

Ford was wanted on outstanding warrants and for questioning in the murder of 19-year-old Tekila Johnson in September.

Smith knows it's too late to give his son advice but as a former felon, he wants to share a message for others going down the wrong path.

"Slow down and think about it before you do it," he said. "We've got to look out for those who graduated and need jobs. Those are the ones that are committing the problems and the crime. They have no future right now."

In the future and new year, he wants a closer relationship with law enforcement and local officials.

"Come and talk to us," Smith said. "Let's see what we can do and come meet halfway. Without that communication, police when you pull up, young guys are going to run. More crime is going to go on."

 

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