Liberty City residents saddened about pastor shot, killed

Police: 2 men being questioned

MIAMI – Friends and family members have identified the man shot and killed outside a local market as a well-known Liberty City pastor, Kenneth Johnson, 67.

The shooting happened before 6 p.m. Thursday, west of Interstate 95 on Northwest 62nd Street.

Miami police told Local 10 News that Johnson was leaving the City Market when he was ambushed by at least two men during what they said they believe was a robbery.

Friends and witnesses said the crooks were after a gold chain around Johnson's neck that wasn't even real gold. A struggle broke out, and Johnson was ultimately shot and killed.

"He was a very nice man," said Mohammad Bashier, the supermarket owner. "I heard the shot. They went up behind him. And one grabbed him, and the other shot him."

Police apprehended two men but said they are only being questioned by detectives at this point.

Friends said Johnson has been a pastor in Liberty City for more than a decade and has opened his wallet and heart to try to revitalize the area.

"He'd give anybody his last," said Billy Denson, a Liberty City resident. "He didn't even have to know you and he would give you his last."

Johnson's wife, Latoya Johnson, said her husband will be greatly missed.

"He was my world. He was my world," she said. "He was a good pastor, a kind, good-hearted man. Why would they do that? Why would they take his life? Just take the chain and go -- go home."

Area pastors and activists said they believe Johnson's death has already sparked a firestorm in the community, given the 67-year-old's involvement and aide.

Residents of Liberty City told Local 10's Christina Vazquez that the gunmen broke the "street rules," because you just don't shoot a pastor.

"The rules of the street were broken because this guy live and operates in this area," said Pastor Vinson Spann, a longtime friend of the victim. "He feeds them, he gives his clothes."

A vigil was planned for 6 p.m. Friday at Power, Faith and Deliverance Ministries, the church where Johnson preached. A march will be followed to the scene of the shooting, which is one block away.

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About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.