A highly respected pastor in Miami’s Liberty City area was gunned down by two men who were trying to steal his gold chain which apparently wasn’t even real.
The suspects shot and killed Pastor Kenneth Johnson, 67, outside the City Market convenience store where had just purchased a bottle of water.
According to Miami police, “Johnson was leaving the City Market when he was ambushed by at least two men during what they said they believe was a robbery. Friends and witnesses said the crooks were after a gold chain around Johnson’s neck that wasn’t even real gold. A struggle broke out, and Johnson was ultimately shot and killed.”
The incident occurred on Thursday evening at about five p.m. EMTs rushed Pastor Johnson to a local hospital where he was tragically pronounced dead.
One of the suspects allegedly shot Johnson three or four times in the chest. An officer in the area heard the shots and tried to apprehend the fleeing suspects. He lost sight of them, but radioed in their description to police Hq.
Miami police subsequently arrested two suspects, a teenager and another man who is age 20, and recovered a weapon that might have been used in the crime. They are charged with first-degree murder and resisting arrest.
About Pastor Johnson, another religious leader in the community told NBC Miami that “He was a very faithful man who worked diligently to help others. That’s why it’s so sad and what I’m hearing is he was shot over a chain that wasn’t real.”
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said that “It was a blow that even somebody from the church, somebody that is peaceful in nature, would get killed tragically and senselessly like this. I think the community’s getting tired of this situation.” The chief added that police patrols in the area would be beefed up. With regard to the suspects, Chief Orosa theorized that “I do not believe they knew who the pastor was. I believe it was more of an opportunistic type of robbery.”
Describing what happened during the fatal confrontation, Orosa explained that “They attempted to rob him at gunpoint. The pastor, who also happens to be a park ranger for the City of Miami fought them off, fought for his life to the point where he took one of the suspects to the ground, and at that point he was shot and killed.”
A prayer vigil was held outside the convenience store on Friday in memory of Pastor Kenneth Johnson.