Mother and widow vow to cleanup neighborhood, following loved one’s murder

ST. LOUIS - On the one-year anniversary of their loved one’s murder, the family of Kevin Johnson returned to the scene of the crime.  Johnson was one of 3 victims shot in the 5600 block of Acme in north St. Louis.  Johnson’s family decided to improve the neighborhood where he was killed.  His mother and his widow have leased a vacant lot on that block and are turning it into a garden.

“Because I want to clean up this neighborhood,” said Natalie Johnson, Kevin’s mother. “It’s time for us to take a stance here.”

Kevin Johnson was known for wanting to rehab properties.  His widow says he was looking for properties the day he was shot.

“He loved this block,” said Denise Johnson.  “He loved this area.”

Natalie and Denise Johnson invited neighbors as they began the process of cleaning up the vacant lot Saturday.

“He was nice.  He was loveable.  He was sweet he was funny,” said Denise Johnson.  “He was everything.”

“I’m hoping to build police and community relations,” said Natalie Johnson.  “I’m hoping to start a trend to deescalate the gun violence in St. Louis.”

They also invited representatives from job placement agencies to attend Saturdays anniversary.

“What I’m trying to do is bring awareness to these young men and women out here that there’s alternatives,” said Natalie Johnson.  “There’s alternatives instead of graves or jail cells.”