Frayser murder echoes back neighborhood gang problems

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- As friends and family of Samuel "Sam" Johnson looked up to the sky on Saturday tears rolled down their faces.

Johnson was shot and killed on Halloween night.

The candles people held at a vigil helped to remember Sam and shine light on a deadly issue plaguing the streets of Frayser.

"I'm hurt. I'm hurt," Reginald Johnson said.

Johnson is facing the reality of planning his own son's funeral.

"To bury my very last child it hurts so bad," Johnson described. "It hurts so bad and I don't know what to do."

WREG spoke exclusively to Johnson in October as neighbors feared gangs were taking over their community.

Johnson's son, Sam, fell victim to a drive-by shooting after being caught in the middle of what police reported was the work of rival gangs.

Sam recovered last month.

After the story on gangs in Frayser aired on WREG, the Shelby County District Attorney's office worked to help the community heal.

Investigators with the D.A.'s office held a meeting designed to give neighborhoods the tools they need to keep the bad guys and hoodlums from taking over their streets.

"I laid down beside him and I grabbed his stomach -- pumping and maybe seeing was he choked on something," Johnson explained.

Johnson had no idea his son had been shot when he found him lying and bleeding on the ground.

Police said Samuel was rushed to the hospital where he died.

Sam's death was later declared a homicide by the Medical Examiner's office.

"They took my baby away. You know? But through it all God's going to give me strength to make it through," Johnson said.

It is that strength Samuel's family members and friends believe will help cope with their loss and bring and end to the senseless violence in their community.

Homicide investigators are asking anyone with information about this homicide to call CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH.



  • John G

    Round up the usual suspects oh wait if you did you have to round up more than 60% of the population of Memphis.

  • John T. Dwyer

    You know, you have to hand it to the trauma people who handle this stuff on a day to day basis. Along with the usual coughs, colds, sore holes, and pimples on the belly, these people do a lion size share. Other hospital ER’s see small and large stuff, but gunshot wounds and seriously torn up people, go to the Med.
    We have to wonder what goes through their minds when one of these knuckleheads start shooting people. Adults, old folks, kids and even babies. You have to wonder how they keep it together, after seeing this nonsense and even on occasion, losing somebody they worked so hard to keep. There can’t be that many emergency trauma surgeons in this city to spread the mischief around. Makes me wonder about the few who are working down there. They do it all and so do the handful of nurses down there.

    Years ago, somebody once asked me if I ever wrote a ticket to, or arrested a doctor, or a nurse.
    My answer was, and is today…absolutely not. All of them have had to go through that place. It would be a sin!!
    In light of today’s activity in our beloved city, it would be a mortal sin!!

    • jim

      do you know this is a shooting with a gun? not a cough cold etc, a person intentionally pulls a trigger with the intent of killing???????????????????? A KILLING? AN ARMED ACT WITH THE INTENTION OF KILLING! What do you not understand?????????????????????????

      • Arguenot

        It appears John knows all too well what this is.
        He was showing appreciation for the professionals who deal with the end results of this violence.
        Day in day out, the doctors, nurses and other employees of The Med go to work in what is the last stop in an on-going war.

        They deal with the abject disregard for human life and suffering that has somehow become the norm for many in Memphis. Not until THEIR loved one is shot or injured does most of Memphis do anything but revel and participate in the violence either by their actions or acceptance of it.

        So I add my voice to John’s. Much respect and appreciation to the true warriors who try and stem the flow of violence, our Public Safety personnel, and those that try and repair the horrific damage done, our medical community.

  • jim

    you know, ever since willie herenton got into the picture, memphis has been nothing but hell on earth. but black people kept him in an office only because he is black. and he lives in a very nice gated community and keeps black people out! But the kicker is that it is black killing black, WHY? i do remember once old willie stated that if you have a black population that is a majority then you can expect that, alluded to the fact memphis proper is black majority. OK and look at it now! herenton was nothing at all but a black racist/money grabber (while the rest of his race suffered)/and ignorant human being. He did nothing to advance race relations at all, he was in for the money, black people do you know that?

    • whitecowarddevils

      Jim, you are a liar and a fool. The previous white mayor said out of his own mouth that Dr.Herenton was a better mayor than he was . You are dumb because you are unable to see the actual economic figures while he was in office and doc said voting for wharton was crazy

      • Arguenot

        There are so many statistics, and the trend is nation wide. Keep denying there is a problem within this community and nothing will ever be changed.
        And financially the city has never been in worse shape. The numbers you refer to, I have no idea the context. Yes, the City is making more money than in the 1970’s, and early 80’s, but that is due to the same reality that dictates bread is no longer a nickle, not sound fiscal management. The debt ratio has never been so out of balance, but I guess name calling suits some better than factual data.

      • John G

        WHITECOWARDDEVILS you talk about the whites like they are the real devils but I am beginning to wonder if your are really the big RACIST that you try not appear to be,but the white folk no that the BLACKS are just as bad as the whites.But we got to put up with you BRO or is it SISTA

  • SimonSaysNo

    Hope the fact that his Dad was speaking on camera about gangs in the neighborhood a few weeks ago….hope it wasn’t gang retaliation.

  • CouncilClowns

    Poor father I feel sorry for him. The scumbags on the City Council couldn’t care less. All they care about is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on their special interest pet projects and get their finacial and political kickbacks by doing so.

  • Cityisajoke

    With all of the complaints…….HAVE Y’ALL VOTED TODAY?
    I hope this father find peace while all of this mess is going on. Killer part is his son probably glorified that non sense and got caught up. How many times do we beg our younger family members to get their life right before it’s too late??? I’m almost certain this father had that conversation with his sons many many times……it’s sad people. Regardless of what color you are. When we loose someone the pain is real. Hurt is hurt. Death sure as hell don’t care what your race…….praying for all of us because….WE ARE ALL IN big trouble

  • Arguenot

    This story is somewhat confusing. Was this young man shot last month as well, and recovered from those wounds? Was he again in the wrong place at the wrong time, and once again was shot, yet this time did not survive?
    No matter the circumstances someone lost their loved one, and to bury your beloved child must be a waking nightmare. Prayers to the family.

    • r.i.p young man

      He was shot earlier this month recovered and released from the hospital and was shot again a few days later walking down the street. Its my understanding that the family didnt even know he had been shot the 2nd time until AFTER his death as well. I

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