Emotional funeral held for murdered Crusader employee
By Erick Johnson
The last time Yolanda Host saw Carlos Johnson alive was a month ago at the Save More supermarket at 9th and Broadway. It was a Sunday and the two were grocery shopping with Host’s daughter, Batista Williams.
Host said Johnson was supposed to visit her the next day, but he never did.
On Tuesday, April 9, Host saw Johnson lying in a white casket during a funeral for her longtime friend, who was murdered during an argument that turned fatal on March 26. He looked peaceful wearing a short sleeve powder blue shirt and a white cap.
“He didn’t deserve what happened to him because he was a good fellow,” said Host who was a friend of Johnson for 37 years.
Host and her daughter were among dozens of mourners who came to say good bye at an emotional, but uplifting funeral at the Powers and Coleman funeral home on the East Side. They remembered Johnson as a man with a kind and giving spirit who loved many people.
Mourners young and old sobbed and laughed during a service that lasted nearly two hours. Some mourners at times were overcome with grief and temporarily left the chapel for relief.
“He was a very giving guy,” said Raymond Peoples, who grew up with Johnson in Gary’s Tarrytown neighborhood. “He really shared everything he had with you.”
Peoples said Johnson was his childhood friend whom he often played basketball with in Tarrytown.
“We did a lot of things together. He was really good in getting along with everybody.”
Tommie Thomas, 72, said she lived on the same street as Johnson as the two grew up in Tarrytown. She said she had known Johnson, 64, all of her life. She said the last time she saw Johnson alive was as he was walking down Broadway.
“I saw him, and I pulled over,” she told the Crusader. “My husband and I were together. We just said hello. He was a good dancer.”
Evangelist, and Powers and Coleman employee Johnnie Coleman opened the service with several scripture readings, including one from John 3:16. Carol Williams, wife of Reverend Henry Wallace Williams of the Chapel of God, throughout the service sang “Walk with Me Lord” and “Goin’ Up Yonder.”
Reverend Williams delivered the eulogy. Several friends and relatives also spoke. This reporter spoke on behalf of the Gary Crusader.
Born in 1955 in Gary, Johnson attended Locke Elementary School and Tolleston Middle School, where he played guard on the basketball team. In 1974, Johnson graduated from the West Side High School. Many friends say Johnson loved to draw, and to play basketball.
Johnson also worked in the Gary Crusader’s circulation department, where he prepared the newspaper for distribution.
Sources told the Crusader that Johnson left the Crusader office before he visited the apartment where he was stabbed to death by 76-year old Edward Miller. Days later, Miller was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter, a level two felony.
According to an affidavit, Miller said he stabbed Johnson with a butcher knife after a heated argument that the two had in an apartment at 100 W 11th Ave. in Gary. Police arrived on the scene after responding to an emergency call about a stabbing.
According to the affidavit, Miller told police that he and Johnson were arguing hours after Johnson arrived at the apartment at noon on March 26. Miller told police that he is a retired “drag queen” and Johnson was calling him derogatory names. As the argument heated, Miller said Johnson grabbed a knife and also said he should get his gun. Miller said Johnson made “stabbing motions” at him. Miller said he grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed Johnson one time in the arm. Johnson was later taken to the emergency room at the Methodist Hospital North Lake campus, where he died at 7:47 p.m., March 26. The affidavit did not say whether Miller suffered any injuries.
Police said Miller’s version of events were inconsistent with the wounds Johnson sustained during the fight. Miller said he stabbed Johnson one time, but the affidavit said Johnson had “cuts to his left forearm, right triceps, right shoulder blade and left neck areas.”
Police learned that Miller had an active warrant for his arrest in Clark County, Indiana.
Tarrena Parks, the manager of the apartment building where the incident took place, told police that Miller was once a tenant there, but moved out after being served with a 14-day eviction notice. According to the affidavit, Parks said Miller had been involved in another stabbing last year, but no details were given.
Johnson is survived by an older brother, Rafe Johnson. Two of Carlos’ sisters, Rita Johnson and Gloria Harris, preceded him in death as well as their mother, Melzenia Johnson and father, Jesse Johnson.