81-year-old Richmond man found dead inside vehicle was shot 9 times, family says


Police ID'd the 81-year-old as Willie L. Johnston

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One day after an elderly man was found shot to death inside his vehicle, his heartbroken family is speaking out to 8News, searching for answers in what they call a senseless crime.

Richmond police said the victim of an early morning shooting Monday was an 81-year-old man, identified by authorities as Willie L. Johnston, of Richmond. Johnston was found dead in the driver seat of a car that had been riddled with bullets in Fulton Bottom on Stoney Run Road shortly after 2:30 a.m.

Memorial where Willie Johnston was found shot (photos taken by 8News and provided by Johnston’s family)

There is no suspect description at this time.

On Tuesday, candles, flowers and a cross tied to tree helped memorialize the man, better known by family as “Uncle Bo.” Originally from Cumberland County, Johnston called Richmond home, residing in the Church Hill neighborhood. He was retired but was once a longtime employee of Perdue Farms. He was a family man to the core, visiting a family member the night he was killed, according to Ricky Johnson.

“My father wasn’t really in my life — I had my grandfather and I had Uncle Bo,” Johnson said. He spoke with 8News reporter Talya Cunningham Tuesday, telling her he was still in shock that his uncle was shot a total of nine times – his car riddled with 15 bullets altogether.

8News’ Talya Cunningham interviews Ricky Johnson about the passing of the man he called “Uncle Bo,” Willie L. Johnston, who was found dead on Monday, June 22 in Richmond’s Fulton Hill Community. (Photo: Forrest Shelor)

“He didn’t’ hurt nobody,” Johnson said. “He’s 100 pounds soaking wet. You can knock him over with your arm, so to take his life? It really hurt my family.”

Heartbroken, Johnston’s family wants answers as to why someone would do such a thing to a man they say is harmless. It wasn’t unusual for his uncle to be out at 2 a.m., Johnson added, because he often couldn’t sleep and would take rides in his car to visit his loved ones.

“We don’t know if they tried to rob him,” Johnson questioned. “We don’t know if they tried to take his car.”

Johnson, an activist and creator of Ricky Johnson Foundation & Toys For Tots, says it’s hard to process the pain, especially since he’s devoted his life to helping the community and trying to prevent crime.

“I’m at a loss for words because this isn’t somebody who is young,” Johnson said. “He’s an elderly man, a senior citizen that has lived a great life, that goes to church every Sunday and loves life. Why?”

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call Major Crimes Detective K. Hughes at (804) 646-3917 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.


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