Police Officer William Johnson Newark Police Department, New Jersey EoW: Friday , May 27, 2011


Police Officer
William Johnson

Newark Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Friday , May 27, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 45
Tour of Duty: 16 years

Badge Number: 1872

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Shooting
Date of Incident: May 27, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Rasul McNeil-Thomas

Agency Contact Information

Newark Police Department
31 Green Street #4
Newark, New Jersey
Phone: (973) 733-7930

Police Officer William Johnson, a single father raising two daughters, was off-duty and unarmed when a pair of assailants fired into the Lyons Avenue restaurant from a slow-rolling car just before 10 p.m. He died five hours later at University Hospital.

Two other customers were wounded but survived the Thursday night attack, which killed Officer William Johnson.

Authorities said yesterday that it does not appear that Johnson, 45, was the target.

Besides Johnson, a 21-year-old man was wounded in the stomach and was in stable condition at University Hospital.

A 19-year-old who was at the restaurant with her toddler was struck in the shoulder. She was released from the hospital yesterday. Her child was not injured.

Acting Police Director Samuel DeMaio said investigators believe the shooters intended to attack someone in the restaurant, but they are not sure who.

James Stewart Jr., vice president of Newark’s Fraternal Order of Police stated: “Willie Johnson was a gentleman,” Stewart said. “He embraced being a parent. He served our country in the United States Army. He served this city as a member of the police department. He was a good man. When we catch these suspects … you will see two cowards who have accomplished nothing. They could never measure up to Willie as a man, a parent or a patriot.”

as the hunt for suspects continued, acting Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio and acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray announced the arrest of a man who allegedly carjacked the vehicle used in the shooting.

The man, 19-year-old Rasul McNeil-Thomas, was taken into custody at 5:20 p.m. at his home on Leslie Street, less than a half-mile from the scene of the shooting. Though McNeil-Thomas was not immediately charged with taking part in the attack, DeMaio and Murray told reporters evidence found in the car had been linked to the shooting.

Charged with carjacking, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, McNeil-Thomas was to be transferred from Newark police headquarters to the Essex County jail. Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III set bail at $300,000.

A second suspect in the carjacking remains at large.

Johnson, who has received numerous commendations through his career, graduated from the police academy in 1995 and spent the first eight years with the department patrolling the city’s North Ward. In recent years, he worked in the property unit and the communications headquarters.

He leaves behind two daughters, ages 22 and 11.

Mark Ortman, a close friend of Johnson’s, watched the younger child, Tiajana, dissolve into tears in the parking lot at University Hospital when she learned her father had died. Other relatives broke out in hysterics. Fellow officers openly cried.

Another close friend, Newark Detective Russell K. Thomas, said Johnson, long divorced, “lived explicitly for his girls,” picking up overtime shifts and working a second job as a security guard at a city housing complex to support the children.

“That’s how he lived his life … doing the best he could do, living for his daughters,” Thomas said.

A reward for information leading to the arrest of Johnson’s killers had climbed to $20,000 today. Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the Newark Police Department at (877) 695-8477 or the prosecutor’s office at (877) 847-7432.


1 Response to “Police Officer William Johnson Newark Police Department, New Jersey EoW: Friday , May 27, 2011”

  1. 1 tracie eustache June 2, 2011 at 12:01

    Rip officer johnson. May god bless ur family in this sad time. May g
    od bless ur two daughter. Just to know that their father is with god now and is watching them everyday. My prays goes out to your famliy. From my famliy the eustache and breeden. Girls keep ur head up remember your dad is watching over u guys and he’s in your hearts.

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