Murder victim's family claims it was mistaken identity - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Murder victim's family claims it was mistaken identity

Family photo of Gerald Johnson Family photo of Gerald Johnson

New Orleans, La. - It's a call no mother wants to get.  Donna Johnson hung up the phone and rushed to the scene.

"I spotted his car and I just ran up the street. When I got as far as I could get, the police officer told me to go back and I was like, 'No, that's my baby,'" says Johnson.

Johnson's 21-year-old son Gerald was dead inside of his bullet-ridden car.  Police say someone opened fire on his Nissan Altima Wednesday afternoon, causing it to ram into a fence on the corner of Monroe and Nelson streets.  Johnson was shot several times and the passenger in the vehicle was also hit.

Johnson's family is in shock.  "He was a straight A student. He graduated with honors from Louis Ernest Rabouin in the top 10," says Johnson.

They can't think of one reason why anyone would want to hurt him.

Johnson had recently bought his car with money he saved while working as a welder at Avondale Shipyard.  He also worked with his stepfather in the landscaping business.

Johnson's family believes this was a case of mistaken identity.  "I talked to detectives this morning. It was mistaken identity. The car he drove was the same kind of car that these people were looking for," says Johnson

Johnson was also an aspiring actor. He had a key role in a show being filmed about New Orleans.

"This show talks about the real New Orleans. It's about the murders, corruption and the school system," says actor Ameer Baraka, the show's producer and creator.  "I chose Gerald because he fit the role. He was a young guy who wore his hat to the back. I saw him in the projects and he said, 'Man, I want to do it. I want to act.'"

Baraka gave Gerald that chance.  Getting the news of his murder was heartbreaking.  

"That boy was a role model and it's sad that the young man snuffed his life out. This kid had a future and it speaks volume about the level of ignorance in this city," says Baraka.

As Johnson's family prepares for his funeral, they too reflect on the amount of violence facing the city.

"It's just uncontrollable. It has to stop," says Johnson.

No one's been arrested in this case and the family is desperate for answers.

If you know anything that could help police, call NOPD or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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