But that counter was the wrong place, and he happened to be there at the wrong time.
And now this 16-year veteran of the Newark Police Dept. is dead.
A father of two. A cop - yes. But he wasn't killed in that capacity. He was just an ordinary guy, caught, perhaps, in a shooting that was targeting someone else. One of the three people who were shot last night.
Another violent night in Newark.
Nothing extraordinary - in fact, more than ordinary.
This is a story that unfolded less than an hour before we went on the air last night. It was unclear whether Officer Johnson was off-duty, or undercover, and also unclear whether he was the target. We were told only that he was in critical condition, but that it didn't look good for him.
It's just all so profoundly sad. We'll have the search for the killer tonight at 11.
Meteorologist Lee Goldberg leads our Memorial Day holiday weekend coverage. From the getaway to the weather - which, by the way, looks pretty great. Bring on summer.
Meanwhile, Pres. Obama returns from his European tour and will spend part of this holiday weekend in Joplin, Missouri, leading a memorial service for the victims of that deadly tornado that wiped out half the city. Vice President Biden will be in Southampton, enjoying the beach.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan where U.S. officials have reportedly listed five militant Islamic leaders that they expect Pakistan to offer intelligence about - and perhaps target. They include Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
The news seems to validate reports that the U.S. believes Pakistani officials have been providing aid and comfort to terrorists - including Osama bin Laden before the U.S. raided his compounded and killed him.
And finally at 11, a nasty situation at a cemetery run by the Catholic Diocese in Brooklyn. A mother, who now counsels young people ever since her own daughter committed suicide, is now furious at the cemetery because it removed a small statue of an angel from her child's tombstone.
And when our Nina Pineda tried to solve the woman's grievance with the cemetery, a manager of the facility kicked Nina and the mother off the property. Kicked them off from visiting the woman's daughter's gravesite. It's an emotionally packed 7 On Your Side tonight.
We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20. And a note about this column: We won't be emailing one out on Monday, Memorial Day. We're working - but we figure you might not be. See you next Tuesday.