Family Speaks Out After Losing Loved One in Officer-Related Shooting

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- "I was trying to explain to the boys that your dad's in heaven and that he's no longer around here, but he'll be here in spirit. I don't think they understand...I don't think they'll ever understand why this was done to him”, says Johnson’s fiancé Quintisha Hanna.

Hannah is struggling to comprehend why her children's father, 29-year-old Phillip Johnson was killed by police during a traffic stop Saturday morning. Family members tried to reach him during his last moments, but didn't make it in time.

"The phone was out there where he was at. They said the phone was chirping or something and it was lighting up. So I said he's gone then”, says Johnson’s Grandmother Carmera Johnson.

Johnson was fatally shot by police after the vehicle he was a passenger in, was pulled over to be questioned about a report of shots being fired. Investigators say they found a handgun in the car following the shooting, but family members who were with Johnson earlier in the night say they have a hard time believing it was his.

Delregan Stevenson, Johnson’s uncle, says, "I've never seen him with a weapon, he's never had a reason to carry a weapon. We had just left the club, we were enjoying ourselves, taking pictures, had a few drinks, we were happy, we left safe."

Johnson's family says they weren't given any information about what happened leading up to their loved one's death, and are still looking for answers; including why they say police didn't cover the 29-year-old's body [or take him off the ground] after the incident, a scene Johnson’s father says he witnessed three hours after the shooting.

"I was just trying to get over there to see my boy...my thing is, why was he out there all that time? He was still lying there an hour and a half after I got there...he was still there”, says Johnson’s father, Phillip Johnson Sr.


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  • by Dale Doback on Jan 31, 2012 at 06:58 PM
    Reading these comments is frustrating to say the least. What needs to be understood is that he wasn't shot based on suspicion. He was shot because he didn't obey the police commands! Sure, they suspected he had a gun, but they didn't just block them in and start shooting. The suspects ran their vehicle into a police cruiser. An officer has the right to FIRE his weapon based on that alone. These officers didn't. Cooler heads prevailed and we have 2 people alive, instead of 3 dead. What you all fail to realize is that their were 3 suspects and 2 of them are fine and dandy today. All the racist players should be asking, "well how is that possible?" and the answer is simple, because they were told by police to get out of the freaking car, and they did. Maybe they ran, whatever, they were detained and weren't shot. All this guy had to do was get out of the car, lay down, show his hands and get arrested. If the police found he had nothing to do with the prior shots fired, he would have been released with nothing but an inconvenience. I've been pulled over, transporting a weapon and the police were fine. Because I told them I had it, and because I was transporting legally, and own the gun legally. It's amazing how police officers can be when you are honest with them. Do us all a favor and stop the hate.
  • by Ron Location: New Mexico on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:47 PM
    I actually could care less about this story but what is the most disturbing thing is the grammar and spelling used by alot of commenters on here. It's down right pitiful and some of you need to get back in school I don't care how old you are and if you are older than 16 you should really be ashamed of yourselves. A mistake here and there is one thing when typing but if this is any indication on how you talk or write it is pretty sad. Get educated people then come back and give your opinions or at least use spell check. As for the story nothing ever comes out good for people out at that time of night anyway and if he was a loving caring father he would have been home with his kids at that time of night.
    • reply
      by OMG on Feb 2, 2012 at 03:24 AM in reply to Ron
      Ron... You said exactly what I've been thinking all along! I'm wondering if they can even understand/read the laws with so little knowledge of the English language. Most of the comments that were made I cant get heads or tails out of. Your last statement was also spot on !
  • by Really? on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:09 PM
    Sorry to hear about any death, but before castigating the officers and police-there needs to be time to allow the independent investigation to get to the truth. So many haters on here, making unverified allegations and assumptions. Point of the matter the police were responding to a shots fired call. After this stop, a gun was found in the vehicle. Anything else is merely assumptions based upon emotional-not rational thought.
  • by Tiffany on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM
    They Are Still Not Saying Why They Shot Him . They Are Saying That They Retrieved A Handgun Afterward But Still No Reason For Shooting Him. The Violence HAS TO STOP !
    • reply
      by really on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:21 PM in reply to Tiffany
      I'm just spit balling here, but I think the fact that this vehicle matched the description of a vehicle involved in a shots fired call. That there is a pretty quick way to get the police to watch for you and catch you doing anything wrong. The handgun presents a very expressed rationale for the shooting and prompts further questioning...Was it displayed to/at the officers? Where was it at? Was it loaded? Any rounds recently fired from it? Was a gunshot residue test done on Johnson? Who were the other guys who fled? I'm assuming the reason for the shooting will be evident after the task force is done and grand jury has been convened. As a matter of law (Graham v Connor), the use of force is a subjective matter that must have been reasonable. 20/20 hindsight is nothing. If the officer reasonably feared for his or someone else's life by a clear and present danger-he will be justified. The courts have concluded that the facts and officer's reasonable conclusions at the moment of the shooting is what is used to determine if the shoot was legal or not.
    • reply
      by Jennifer on Jan 31, 2012 at 07:11 PM in reply to Tiffany
      If The People Keep Getting Killed By Police Im Sure They're Gonna BackLash.
      • reply
        by Tim on Feb 2, 2012 at 12:03 PM in reply to Jennifer
        Well Jennifer if the people wouldn't be breaking the law and disobeying poilice officer requests they wouldn't need to be worried about getting killed by police.
  • by william on Jan 30, 2012 at 04:32 PM
    People of Rockford,How many more Black have to died by the hand of a Police person before justice is really done. If any other person kill they are not alow time to make themself look inocient. Sure if you are white, you want understand but let black officer start shooting white theifs in their back and see how long it would take to remove him or her from the job,see if the black officer is allow to get all of their benefits. I pray for everybody but I don't think the cheif should ask ud to pray for his officer killing another black man at the same time we pray for his family. People it is time for this bull to end.............
  • by you wouldnt know untill it happens to one of your family members on Jan 30, 2012 at 03:24 PM
    why is anybody commenting on this!! dont nobody know what happened that night. But i know that he never carried a gun so with that being said they shot the one in their eye sight not giving a f who was doing the shooting. sry to the johnson family as well as the officers family (but mind your own business)people
    • reply
      by Dave on Jan 31, 2012 at 05:43 AM in reply to you wouldnt know untill it happens to one of your family members
      This famous last words of someone who does not know anything. "I know he never...... Good one!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 30, 2012 at 03:18 PM
    If the gun was found on the person I would bet the police dept. would have stated that the victim was found in possession of a firearm, because they didn't makes me suspect that the gun was not found in his immediate area, meaning that he might not have known there was a gun in the car... to not move a single inch would be pretty hard to do, especially if you had been having a few drinks...to everyone that is upset about people pulling the race card... I am white and it is obvious that overall, the RPD acts differently to minorities, I worked at RHA as a security officer for a few years and saw it myself on numerous occasions... I also question the car itself as a grey or silver pontiac is a very common car,... I can't exactly say whether the police have the right car or not as there are obvious things we do not know right now, but I am sure that the officers and RPD will protect their own. My personal opinion is that this man wasn't armed with the gun and had no intention of getting into a firefight with the police.
    • reply
      by Really? on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:13 PM in reply to
      So, your implicitly implying something is up here? Truth be told, RHA doesn't make you an authority on law enforcement. Personal opinion means little here-as does "immediate area". Anywhere in the car was accessible. Doesn't take anything to stuff a handgun under a seat, between the counsel, etc. Before casting your opinion, how about wait until the facts present themselves?
    • reply
      by tony on Jan 31, 2012 at 07:13 PM in reply to
      I Swear ! The Police Are Getting Trigger Happy. They Wont Get Enough Until Justice Is Served The Right Way
  • by Concerned Location: Rkfd IL on Jan 30, 2012 at 09:21 AM
    To the Johnson Family: I am sorry for the loss of your love one, may you find peace in the memories of his life. To his children: Keep the memories of your Dad close to your heart and he will be with you always! RIP Mr. Johnson Jr.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 30, 2012 at 08:47 AM
    does it matter if we are black, white, pink, red, orange.....do I need to continue? Our color or race has nothing to do with our decisions or actions!!!!
  • by lol Location: rock on Jan 30, 2012 at 08:43 AM
    @Dave dude get a life but anyways this man was shot in the car ok a car that they throught match Wat was reported to have fired s hots. Yeah police pull the car over yea the car Bump the police they open fired two ppl got out after that he was in the car he couldn't move he was shot when he didn't get out the seem his arm move n they killed him they drag his body out the car no help no cpr no nothing was done he laid there police telling ppl to go back at my lol be crib because they seem Wat h asppen and no it wasn't right but we all know cops get away with every thing I know I seem myself Wat happen when they first stop the car
    • reply
      by Dave on Jan 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM in reply to lol
      Please go back to school.
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