Candles and tears overflowed as family and former colleagues remember slain Forrest City officer

FORREST CITY, Ark. — The songs and the candles were optional, but the tissues were unavoidable as about 100 people gathered outside the Forrest City Police Department Thursday night to remember Officer Oliver Johnson.

Johnson didn't die in the line of duty, but he was killed by a stray bullet in an apparent drive-by shooting at his West Memphis apartment Saturday.

Just 25 years old, Johnson was a father of two who had just accepted his dream job with the West Memphis Police Department.

“It’s sad. It’s just so sad. I just don’t understand," said Johnson's aunt, Serenia Curtis.

But it's easy to understand why Johnson was so beloved on the Forrest City police force.

"He was our people person. He can walk up on any scene, somebody having a rough time and he can talk to them, he can bring them down and just shown them his love," said Johnson's former supervisor, Lt. Marilyn Reynolds.

“I loved my brother, man. He would say it all the time, man. ‘We like brothers, Craft. We like brothers,'" said Terry Craft, who once worked with Johnson at the police department.

There was plenty of love at Thursday's vigil, but there was also anger directed at the person who pulled the trigger and who still walks the streets.

"If you have any decency left in that shallow soul which you possess, turn yourself in," said Lt. Darren Smith.

Until that happens, it won't be easy turning in for an aunt still haunted by tragedy.

“I’m broken. I’ll never be the same," said Curtis.

Curtis asked people to considering donating to a fund set up for Johnson's two surviving daughters, Melody and Ja'Myiah.

You can call Suntrust Bank and ask to contribute to the Oliver Johnson Memorial Fund, she said.