One year since Wilmington teen was shot and killed, case remains unsolved

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It has been exactly one year since 18-year-old Zalleux Johnson was shot and killed in the first homicide of 2019. Friends and family gathered Friday night to honor and remember the young victim, as the plead for answers in his unsolved case.

“I just keep hearing him saying, ‘Mom it’s going to be okay. I’m okay. Don’t cry. Be strong,'” Johnson’s mother Yolanda Hayes said.

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Hayes is hearing the voice of her youngest child Zalleux, or ZJ.

Not a day goes by that his family doesn’t remember him.

“There’s not one thing I can say I miss about him,” Hayes said. “I just miss my baby boy.”



It’s been exactly one year since ZJ was gunned down on Emory Street in the Creekwood community.

365 days later, detectives are still looking for answers.

“He had a family, and he had stuff to look forward to,” ZJ’s sister Zatia Johnson said.

Newly released surveillance video shows ZJ in the neighborhood just moments before he was killed.

“I wish I could bring him back, but I know he wouldn’t want to come back to this world,” ZJ’s father Zalleux Johnson Sr. said. “It’s too wicked.”

However, the family says they’re not approaching his death with hate in their hearts.

“We’re just going to celebrate because we’re going to celebrate the fact that he went home to be with God,” Hayes said. “So, we’re going to try to make it as positive as possible. But in reality, we’re all hurting. We cant stop that.”

His family and friends released balloons at ZJ’s memorial. They say they will never stop fighting for justice.

“So we can have some peace, and we can have understanding,” Zatia Johnson said.

If you have any information about ZJ’s case, please call Wilmington Police. You can use text-a-tip to remain anonymous.

Police are now offering a $5,000 reward.

To watch WWAY’s Hannah Patrick’s story on ZJ’s as part of her series #UNSOLVED, click here.