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Search for killer continues

By Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Mar 3, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Few leads and frustration have developed in the more than four months since Ronald Lyn Johnson Sr. was fatally shot on Joseph Street in Lebanon. 

But neither police nor Johnson’s family is giving up hope in finding resolution in the case. 

“Not really a lot has changed in the situation,” said Amanda Mendez, Johnson’s sister. “They have had some leads, but nothing has really panned out. We are waiting on someone to come forward.

“We are trying to do all we can to seek justice for my brother. This is someone’s life. It’s my brother. How would they feel if it were their brother? It’s shocking to know there were so many people around but no one has come forward. We know there were some people there who know something. 

“They really need to be taken off the streets because who knows whether it could happen again.”

Police Chief Scott Bowen said officers responded to a shots fired call just before 2:30 a.m. and arrived to find Johnson’s body lying in the street. He said investigators believe Johnson was in the area to buy narcotics. He said a large crowd was gathered at the time of the shooting.

A month later, Bowen said the case was still a priority for police.

“We’re still working it, and we believe numerous people saw what happened and know what happened, and now we just need them to come forward,” Bowen said. “It’s frustrating to us knowing that there are witnesses out there.”

Bowen said he had all the confidence in investigators, who would continue to work on the case daily.

“Hopefully we’ll get the break we need,” Bowen said. “We feel like we have a good picture of what we think happened. We just have got to get someone to step up and cooperate.”

Johnson, the son of Trousdale County Commissioner Richard Johnson, was laid to rest in October in Hartsville. He died only hours before his 44th birthday.

Richard Johnson said he doesn’t have any plans of dropping the case until it’s resolved. 

“The thing I look at the most concerning my deceased son, I speak to the crowd of people who was there when my son was murdered,” Richard Johnson said. “There are two sides to every coin. The good is that people would stick together for the good of a situation. The bad is people sticking together for bad. 

“This person is responsible for taking my son’s life. The person who did this; I wonder how he feels when he lays down to sleep.”

Richard Johnson said he’s committed to keeping the case from becoming cold and praised Lebanon investigators in continuing to search for clues. 

“This is something we don’t want to forget about,” Richard Johnson said. “We don’t ever intend to stop it. We want to keep on going until some day when someone will come forward and tell what they know about this. We know the Lebanon police is working hard on this, and we intend to go as far as we can. We want to turn this cold-blooded murder into justice. 

“I’d like to see justice for my son, for myself and for the rest of my family. Justice would make it a lot better for us. We are pretty shaken up about all this. I can’t go to sleep anymore as well as I could knowing we have people around who would do something like this.”

Looking at an 8-by-10 photo of his son, Richard Johnson pleaded for anyone with information to step forward. 

“We would appreciate anyone associated with this case to come forward and say something,” he said. “I hope this never happens to any of you who would watch someone and murder another person. The person who pulled that trigger should be punished to the fullest.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lebanon police at 615-444-2323.

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