Friend of church deacon killed in northeast Columbus shooting speaks out

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As investigators work on investigating Van Johnson’s death, Johnson’s friends are mourning his passing.  Ira Perry said Johnson was the godfather to her children, and a close friend.

“Way more than a statistic . If there was ever a person that didn’t deserve to be shot and killed , I would say Van was definitely that person,” said Perry.

Perry is still trying to fully accept that Johnson is gone

“They were the surrogates. They were there for me when I had my first child. When I had my second child ten years later.  All of life in between they were helping hands that I didn’t have from family,” said Perry.

Van and his wife helped Perry during some challenging times.  They were all there for each other. It’s something common within the church community, but today it ended when she found out the tragic news while out to dinner with family.

“I called my sister Lisa and I said tell me it isn’t true.  Please tell me what’s going on it’s not true.  She said I wish I could but, I was just in shock.  Just kind of melted down in the restaurant,” said Perry.

Authorities say 18-year-old Jordyn Preston shot and killed Van Johnson. Police say  Preston also shot his girlfriend, Johnson’s daughter Elyzabeth Johnson, by mistake in the process.  Investigators say the shooting happened when Preston got in the middle of an argument between Elyzabeth Johnson and Van Johnson.

Preston is Elyzabeth Johnson’s boyfriend.

Despite what happened on Ottawa Drive, Perry says she knows the 54-year-old deacon would tell his loved ones to look to the lord for peace and healing.

“The message that Van Johnson would have wanted to get out of this is that he didn’t win. We have the victory,” said Perry.

Authorities said this is the 128th homicide of the year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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