‘We are baffled’ | Pastor shot dead in church weeks after ominous tweet

Adrian Kerr, leader of the church where young pastor James Johnson worshipped, said he is baffled by the murder of Johnson, adding that the gunman should surrender to cops now.

Twenty-nine year-old Johnson, who also was an activist of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), died late Thursday afternoon after a gunman shot him several times at the Church of God of Prophecy on Old Harbour Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

The Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force said the deceased is from Union Estate, St Catherine.

It added: “Reports from the Spanish Town police are that, about 5pm, Johnson was teaching a class of students when a lone gunman entered the church and shot him several times. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

Less than a month before Johnson was gunned down, he made the following Tweet:

In the meantime, Pastor Kerr, in a social media post, said it appears the gunman trailed Johnson to the church.

“[The shooting] took place at the church where he (Johnson) went, intended to do some work for our Bible school. It seemed he was followed to the location and, while he was in the administrative office, a lone murderer entered and shot him.”

The clergyman added: “We are baffled as to why someone thought it necessary to murder him (Johnson). We are however confident that the murderer will be caught and justice will be served, and I urge such person to turn himself into the police.”

The late Johnson, who was vocal about happenings in his society, recently called for an end to murders – as shown in the Tweet below:

Pastor Kerr spoke highly of the murdered youth, a past student of Garvey Maceo High School in Clarendon.

“Johnson was a very helpful person with good potential… We are confident of God’s grace on his family, his coworkers, friends and the church.”

He also declared that his church will not be daunted.

“We are a praying church and we will not be daunted by evil. The church will continue to pray daily until the murderer is caught. I invite others to join us in this crusade against evil,” added Pastor Kerr.

Johnson, based on social media posts, was a staunch supporter of the JLP, and he worked closely with Member of Parliament (MP) for St Andrew West Rural Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn.

As shown in the photo below, he actually accompanied the MP to a back-to-school treat in her constituency last month.

Johnson sometimes Tweeted that his main interest was to give back to his country ‘through hard work and dedication’.

He had a seemingly large number of friends who appear stunned by the tragedy, which happened during a state of public emergency covering Spanish Town and other parts of the St Catherine North Police Division.

Nadeen Spence, Student Services and Development Manager at The University of the West Indies, said Johnson was a confident and intelligent young man.

“He was my student; at one point my student assistant. I watched him mature into this wonderful, confident, assertive intelligent young man. I loved him…” she said on Twitter. “I don’t know what to do.”

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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