Wilmington mom pleads for community to help solve son’s murder


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington police and the family of a teenager shot and killed last week held a news conference Tuesday pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

Police say the victim’s mother requested to hold the news conference because she doesn’t want retaliation against whoever killed her son.

Wilmington Police say 18-year-old Zalleux Johnson, known to family and friends as ZJ, was previously identified as a validated gang member and that his shooting death was gang-related.

Johnson was found shot near the basketball court in the 700 block of Emory Street on Thursday.

“Regardless of what he did, he was a good boy,” ZJ’s mother Yolanda Hayes said. “He was trying. This street credibility, this gang stuff that y’all have going on … when he came home, he was my son, he was my baby.”

A dozen of his family members showed up and his mother and two sisters were visibly emotional as they called for justice.

“People been asking me, ‘Is there anything I can do? Anything I can do?’ Only thing that you can do for me if bring my son’s killer to justice,” Hayes said. “I don’t want anybody to try to take it into their own hands. I don’t want another mother to feel the pain that I feel.”

WPD Chief Ralph Evangelous says there has been at least one act of retaliation since ZJ’s death. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

Johnson’s murder was the first homicide of 2019.

“If you know anything, just say something,” ZJ’s sister Zatia Johnson said. “Because at the end of the day, I would never want anybody to hurt as much as my family is hurting.”

If you know anything information, you are asked to contact WPD or use Text-a-Tip.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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