Woman murdered during dispute in Brooklyn

December 7, 2009 2:29:22 PM PST
Police are searching for the gunman who opened fire in Brooklyn, hitting two people, one fatally. The woman who died, the former girlfriend of an NBA legend, was visiting her family and trying to help a relative. "I still don't believe it," the victim's mother, Carrie Johnson, said. "I can't put it in my mind, you know, that she's dead."

It was a mother's anguish and disbelief in the wake of her beloved daughter's senseless murder.

Authorities say 51-year-old Carrie Audrey Johnson, known to friends and family buy her middle name, was shot once in the head Sunday night outside her family's Bedford-Stuyvesant home.

Relatives say she was simply trying to keep her niece from getting involved in a fight on the street between the niece's boyfriend and three other men.

"My aunt came out to grab her from going up the block, and I guess the dudes must have thought they was coming towards them," another niece, Jeromeka Johnson, said. "And that's when they started shooting."

The victim's 14-year-old nephew, Daniel, was shot in the leg. His father says the aspiring high school basketball player was simply returning from a bread-run to the corner store.

"It was more than shocking," Michael Johnson said. "I couldn't move. I couldn't feel. And then knowing that my sister also was injured, I didn't know what to do."

Daniel remains in the hospital, the bullet still in his leg. The Johnson family, meanwhile, is trying to make sense of what has happened.

A small memorial has replaced the bloodstains on the sidewalk outside the family home. Among those sending condolences is former NBA all-star World B. Free, a former boyfriend of the victim. The couple reportedly has two children together.

Free played during the 1970s and 80s for the San Diego Clippers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers. He currently works as Community Relations Director for the 76ers.

As police ask for help in finding those responsible, loved ones face the tougher challenge of finding solace. The victim's mother says she lost one daughter to cancer just two months ago and never expected gun violence would claim another so soon.

"I'm nearly 80 years, and my heart can't take but so much," Carrie Johnson said. "But I'm try to keep up, you know."

Police are looking for three suspects, one of which is said to be responsible for Johnson's death.