Police: Robbery likely motive behind Warner Robins fatal shooting

bpurser@macon.comOctober 9, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A 47-year-old man was shot on the front stoop of his Warner Robins home Tuesday afternoon by three men who were likely trying to rob him, police said Wednesday.

The suspects were described as three black men in their 20s, standing between 5 feet and 10 inches tall and 6 feet and 3 inches tall, possibly driving a silver four-door vehicle. No clothing description was available.

Willie Johnson, 47, died at Houston Medical Center shortly after he was found about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday lying on the ground outside of his home in the 100-block of Demetree Drive with a gunshot wound to the upper left leg.

Assistant Police Chief John Wagner said police believe the motive was robbery but don’t know whether the suspects were able to take anything before fleeing.

An autopsy Wednesday found Johnson died from a single gunshot wound to the leg, and his death was ruled a homicide.

“He was a good person,” said his wife, 43-year-old Debra Johnson, as she waited behind the crime scene tape outside her home Wednesday.

Visibly distraught, she said she’d rather not talk about her husband’s death. The couple was married for 22 years and has five grown daughters, she said.

According to her sister-in-law, Muriel Edwards, Debra Johnson arrived home from work Tuesday afternoon to find the crime scene tape around her home and saw her husband with a bloody leg being carried on a stretcher.

“When he arrived at the hospital, he had a very faint pulse,” Edwards said. “They did CPR, but he had lost a lot of blood. He probably bled out.”

Edwards, of Hawkinsville, was at work at a nursing home when she got the call that her brother had been shot and taken to the hospital. Because it was a leg wound, she was hopeful the injury was not life-threatening.

Edwards said it seemed like only five or 10 minutes had passed when she received a second call that her brother had died.

A cousin drove her to his home. Family members bought his wife a change of clothes from Wal-Mart because she was not immediately allowed to go back inside the home.

Family members also have been searching the neighborhood for the family dog, a black female poodle named Buster, who was missing when Debra Johnson arrived home Tuesday.

Willie Johnson was self-employed and did lawn work. The couple had lived at the Demetree Drive home for the past four years.

“He was a very sweet person and very kind hearted,” Edwards said.

Anyone with information about the fatal shooting is asked to contact Detective Jeff Herb at 478-302-5382. Information also may be submitted anonymously by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) and including keyword WRPD in the body of the text.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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