Any family who just received word that their teenager was shot and killed would be understandably devastated, upset, and angry. But how do you react if your teenager was shot after breaking in to someone’s home? Do you primarily blame the homeowner or the teenager?
While all of the details are not in on a story reported by CBS Miami as the investigation is ongoing, that is essentially what happened.
“On Thursday, police say [Trevon] Johnson burglarized a home south of 79th Street near I-95 — just blocks away from where he lives.
The 54-year-old woman told police her surveillance system alerted her to the break-in of her home. She said she rushed home and found the teen climbing out of a window.
‘She observed a subject leaving the home through the rear,’ said police Det. Dan Ferrin.
Miami-Dade police said there was a confrontation and shots were fired. Police said they were on scene seconds after the shooting and gave CPR to the teen. Johnson was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police said the homeowner is cooperating with detectives and was taken to a police station for questioning.
‘She’s a person that is a little distraught because this is her home that someone obviously was in,’ Ferrin said.”
Again, no family wants to receive news that their child has been killed and the family deserves a lot of leeway for what they say during a time of grieving. Nonetheless, some of the things the family of Trevon Johnson are saying are rather startling. One wonders if some of the attitudes displayed in their comments helped propel the teen into the situation that ultimately took his life.
“‘I don’t care if she have her gun license or any of that. That is way beyond the law… way beyond,’ said Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris. ‘He was not supposed to die like this. He had a future ahead of him. Trevon had goals… he was a funny guy, very big on education, loved learning.’
‘What’s wrong with her,’ asked Johnson’s sister Nisha Johnson. ‘She did not have to shoot him.’
‘It’s no reason she should have waited until I think he walked out the yard to try to shoot him,’ said Harris. ‘If she called the police already why would she shoot him?’
Relatives said they don’t believe Johnson stole anything from the home but detectives would not confirm that.
‘You have to look at it from every child’s point of view that was raised in the hood,’ said Harris. ‘You have to understand… how he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school? You have to look at it from his point-of-view.’”
That last part should really cause us all to reflect on the pressures that face young men in, as Harris said, “the hood”. We should also question how their moral compasses are being shaped. Is theft and violence acceptable in order to get clothes or things that you want? Do the ends justify the means for too many young men? And is that really the only option given the number of charities and government programs that exist?
Trevon Johnson’s family is right, this shooting shouldn’t have happened. But the conversation about how it shouldn’t have happened needs to start a lot earlier with why that young man felt justified breaking into someone else’s home. He did something dangerous and illegal that ultimately led to his death. It’s an ugly truth, but it must be faced if we’re to help more young men live their lives to the fullest.
Trevon, may you rest in peace.