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Vigil held in Hilltop for unsolved murder case

James Johnson, 29, was shot and killed in the Hilltop neighborhood last year.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Speaking through a megaphone with tears coming down his face, James Johnson said he couldn’t believe he was standing in a Sunoco gas station where his son – also named James - was shot exactly one year ago.

He called it his “wildest nightmare.”

“To lose a kid is hard. There is no excuse. There is no recovery. It’s hard. Wake up people. Enough is enough. This is terrible,” the elder Johnson said.

Whoever is responsible for killing his son - 29-year old James Johnson – they have not been formally charged. There have been no arrests. The family has no resolution. No answers. Surveillance images put out by police show two men – and possibly a female driver – leaving the gas station on Sullivant Avenue in the Hilltop area in a maroon and gold minivan.

Brenda Johnson says someone initially tried to hit her son and another shot him. James drove himself to a nearby UDF before collapsing. He was taken to OhioHealth’s Grant Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

A year later, that same gas station parking lot was filled Wednesday afternoon with Johnson’s children, their mother, his fiancé, his parents and other relatives and friends -- many wearing sweatshirts with Johnson’s picture on them noting the date of his killing.

The family said a prayer, read poems and held each other. They also tried to encourage others who might know something to come forward to authorities.

“They didn’t just take James Johnson. They took my son. They took my grandkids’ daddy. They took a brother. He was our only son. They took him away from his fiancé. They took him away from a lot of loved ones and it’s not fair,” Brenda Johnson, his mother told 10TV News.

The family says they know there are other families dealing with a similar grief as the city of Columbus has continued to be plagued by gun violence in recent years.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Central Ohio Crimestoppers  at is 614-461-TIPS (8477).

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