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Seven years and no justice: Lynchburg family's relentless quest for answers after son's unsolved murder

Shawn Lee Johnson, Jr. (Credit: Valarie Turpin)
Shawn Lee Johnson, Jr. (Credit: Valarie Turpin)
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A Lynchburg mother and her family are still searching for answers and justice after her son was killed seven years ago in a shooting on Rivermont Avenue.

According to the Lynchburg Police Department, on September 18, 2016, 21-year-old Shawn Lee Johnson Jr. was shot in the chest and killed in the former Ellington Building.

Officers said Shawn suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was later

Witnesses told police officers seven years ago that they saw a man shooting into the crowd from a dark, four-door sedan. Since then, police have not made arrests in the case.

On Monday night, Shawn's mother, Valarie Turpin, partnered with One Community, One Voice to hold a vigil to honor his life. The family held the vigil at the same place where Shawn was shot and killed on Rivermont Avenue. Shawn's aunt, Mary Patterson Morris recalled the day she found Shawn had been killed.

SEE ALSO: Lynchburg's unhealed hearts: One Community, One Voice to hold annual vigil for victims of gun violence and unsolved crimes

"I get a phone call, and my nephew has been shot," Morris said. "And what could I do... it hurts."

Both Valarie and Mary said they would fight for justice until the person is behind bars.

"I just do as a mother would do; just try to seek justice," Valarie said. "That's the only way we're going to have some peace."

"I miss him, and all I want is some justice," Morris said. "It would really help me and my mom and my brother and my family."

During the vigil, One Community, Once Voice director Pastor James Camm told the family and the community that violence has no place in Lynchburg.

"We are united in this senseless crime," Pastor Camm said. We must stop the violence in this city and remember those who are harmed or killed when it happens."

Valarie said her son had a vivacious personality and loved giving back to children.

"He had a positive attitude, and he was very funny," Shawn's mother said. "He loved kids and he loved football and that's why he became a coach."

RELATED: Candlelight vigil to be held 7 years after deadly drive-by shooting of Lynchburg man

Both no suspect behind bars and no answers, Valarie, Mary, and the entire family are hoping and praying for someone to bring some information forward about what happened seven years ago. Both women, who loved Shawn dearly, have a message for whoever killed their pride and joy.

"How could you walk around like this; like nothing happened," Morris said. "How could you do this?"

"May God be with you," Valarie said. "I know your conscious is eating at you. I can forgive, but I won't forget."

ABC13 reached out to the Lynchburg Police Department to see if there were any updates in the case. According to a sergeant from their investigations unit, this case is still active, and the department cannot share any updates at this time. Both the family and LPD ask that anyone call the department if they know anything about what happened.

"If you see something, say something," Valarie said. "If you have any memory or a text or pictures from that night, please come forward. I just want justice."

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