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Foundation set up for slain CTK football star

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The Thomas...

By Dustin Brown

State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) will join community leaders Thursday to announce the creation of a foundation in memory of Thomas Johnson, a scholar-athlete at Christ the King High School who was shot to death earlier this year.

The Thomas Kareem Johnson Jr. Foundation is being established “to provide community resources and to find outlets for teens,” said Pastor Lisa Mitchell of the Jesus Family Ministries Church, where the Johnson family worships.

“The absolutely senseless and tragic death of Tommy Johnson has rocked our community and touched all of our hearts,” Smith said. “The Thomas Johnson Foundation will serve as a tribute to Tommy’s life, and keep his memory alive for his family, friends, and the entire community. In addition, it will ensure that something positive comes out of a truly devastating incident.”

Johnson, 17, of 353 Beach 57th St. in Far Rockaway, was shot once in the head Jan. 10 at 56-16 Beach Channel Drive, just down the road from the Edgemere Houses, after he and two friends confronted Charles Sealey for taking his cousin’s cell phone in a fight earlier that day.

A running back and captain of his high school football team, Johnson was buried Jan. 16 in his Christ The King football uniform at Amityville Cemetery.

Boasting an academic record that rivaled his achievements on the football field, Johnson had received recruitment letters from some of the nation’s top colleges, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Bucknell and Columbia.

“It is a tremendous loss for someone who had so much potential,” longtime family friend James Holland said following Johnson’s funeral. “He was every mother’s dream. To be taken out so early, it’s a big loss. Words really can’t describe it.”

Although Johnson’s murder destroyed his aspirations of playing for the National Football League, friends are keeping alive his dream to buy a house for his parents by organizing a walkathon in Johnson’s memory.

While the foundation is still in the early stages of planning, Mitchell said it will likely fund activities that give local youth a productive alternative to the streets — possibly including a football camp and a scholarship fund.

Smith and Mitchell will be joined at Thursday’s conference by Johnson’s parents, Juanita and Thomas Johnson. The conference is scheduled to begin 11 a.m. at the Edgemere Houses, 56-16 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, the site where Johnson was killed.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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