Chris Johnson, the NFL running back cut by the New York Jets last month, was injured in a drive-by shooting early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, when an unknown gunman or gunmen pulled up alongside the Jeep in which he was a passenger when it stopped at a red light and opened fire.
The assailants then sped off. When the shooting was over, Johnson was shot in the shoulder but the driver of the Jeep, 28-year-old Dreekins Oricko Johnson, was dead, according to news reports out of Orlando Sunday.
A third man in the vehicle, Reggie Johnson, 29, was also hurt in the shooting. Police did not say whether or not the other two men were relatives of Chris Johnson, also 29, even though all three victims of the shooting shared a surname.
Both surviving men were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were listed in stable condition. While the ex-New York Jets running back was reportedly shot only once, Reggie Johnson was hit by bullets in the shoulder, leg, and hand.
Police offered no possible motive for the shooting attack on the Jets running back and his companions shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday morning.
Chris Johnson was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the first round, 24th overall, in the 2008 NFL draft. He played his first six seasons with Tennessee before inking a two-year, $8 million deal with the New York Jets prior to the 2014 season.
But though Johnson’s 8,628 career yards make him the fifth-leading active rusher in the National Football League, he posted the worst performance of his career in his first and, as it turned out, only season with the Jets.
Johnson recorded a personal-worst 663 yards, scoring only one touchdown in a 2014 season in which he was unable to crack the starting lineup of a Jets team that finished a dismal 4-12, the second-worst record in the AFC.
In January, Johnson was pulled over by a police officer in Orlando after running a stop sign. The officer subsequently found two semi-automatic handguns — reportedly a Glock 9 mm and an FN 5.7 mm. — in Johnson’s car, and the running back was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor violation of Florida’s ban on openly carrying firearms.
In February, the New York Jets cut Johnson, making the running back a free agent when the NFL’s official free agency period begins on Tuesday, March 10, meaning he remains officially a Jet until then. But after a poor season, and now being injured in a shooting, the market for Chris Johnson is likely to be slim.
[Image: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images]