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Family mourns loss of Olney man killed in shooting

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OLNEY (WSIL) -- Kisha Johnson's goal was to move her family away from gun violence on the south side of Chicago.

"My son was almost shot several times before he made it to eighth grade," Johnson said. "I saw bullets missing my son's head as he was running."

But the violence followed her son to the town of Olney. "I thought I was doing a good thing moving him away... I had no idea my son would die the way he died down here."

Johnson still remembers the chilling, haunting words that her son, 19-year old Kyle Johnson, said as he walked out the door of their home.

"He told me, 'Mom this is not Chicago... You don't have to worry about a shooting'," Kisha said. "'We're not in the city anymore.'"

About 30 minutes later, Kyle was shot, and later died at a hospital.

33-year old Tara Haws was arrested and charged with first degree murder by accountability. Police are still searching for 19-year old Rick Meador.

Kyle's cousin, Myah Gray, says race may have played a role in the shooting. She says Kyle talked about his encounters with residents and local police, saying they would make certain gestures at him.

"Being people of color we have to consider that," Gray said. "We don't have the luxury to push that aside and say this doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It does matter."

Kyle's sister, Kenya Ellis, remembers her brother as a pacifist and a protector. Ellis says Kyle was ambitious and was looking to start a career in rap music.

"He knew he was just the 'million dollar man' and he was going to make it and he was going to take care of all of us," Ellis said.

"He was always talking about making it in his rap career so he can take care of me and buy me a house," Johnson added.

Johnson, who moved to Southern Illinois in 2018, plans to move out of her home in Olney. She says it's too painful to stay in the same place her son once lived in.

But she wants others to know about the energy and positivity that Kyle radiated.

"He wasn't affiliated with anything but living life to the fullest, making rap music and having a good time," Johnson said. "[He] wanted everyone around him to have a good time."

Danny Valle

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