Mother of Thanksgiving shooting victim heartbroken

Local News

A mother of one of the victims in the Thanksgiving shooting – that killed three people and injured two others – is sharing her heartbreak and memories.

Jonita Timberlake’s son, Joe’Vonn Johnson was one of the victims. She said the last thing her son said to her was “I Love you too, Mama,” as she dropped him off food on Thanksgiving.

She said the three things people should remember about her son are he was a loving father, a lover of baseball, and had a contagious smile. 

The 23-year-old was was a father of two young children, ages 1-year-old and 3-months-old. 

“From day one he said he wanted to be the best father he could be,” Timberlake said. “I can say he lived up to that. He was very loving.”

He graduated from Wayne High School in 2013, where he played baseball and tennis. His love for baseball was lifelong. He had played the sport since he was 7-years-old and was working as a little league baseball umpire.

“He would connect with the kids,” the mother said. “He helped them. He’d take them to the side and say, ‘here, try this or try that’ and the kid would get the hang of it and you could just see the appreciation on their faces. I think that made more sense to him than anything. It made him feel like he was doing something positive and making a difference.” 

Timberlake wants the community to remember his positive spirit which never faded.

“I want them to remember if anything, that smile and just how kind-hearted he was,” she said with tears. “He was always smiling. Always joking. He had the ability to make you smile even when you didn’t want to.”

She said she can’t wrap her head around the death.

“I don’t know how to do this,” she said. “They don’t give you guidelines. There’s no rule books. You’re not supposed to bury your children. One part of me knows that he’s not here. The other part of me, I’m not accepting that. I don’t know how. I can’t accept the fact that I’ll never talk to my son again.”

Timberlake also wants Johnson’s killer to be brought to justice.

“I’d like to say that at some point that there will be forgiveness,” she said. “Honestly, there may not be because I don’t understand. If I could ask them anything it would be “Why? Just why?” I hope there’s justice, I do.” 

It’s still unclear what ultimately led to Johnson’s death. In looking at the his past, he did have some run-ins with the law, including possession of marijuana and armed robbery charges. His mother said those charges aren’t related to the death investigation and have nothing to do with how her son should be remembered.

Kameron Joyner is accused of killing Johnson and two others, Colton Messmer and Tracey Andrews.     He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning. 

Police are still looking for Gerald Pinkston, who is believed to be a a person of interest.

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