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The memory of Tommy Johnson lives on.
Christ the King will honor its former star football player, who was shot and killed just down the road from the Edgemere Houses in Far Rockaway on Jan. 10, by emblazing his jersey number onto all of its players uniforms this year, said head coach Mike Cassidy.
The team will also be retiring its former captains number in a ceremony to be held Friday night at the Middle Village school. Johnsons parents, Cassidy said, will attend the event and be presented with a jersey bearing their sons name and number.
I thought it would be very nice for his mother and father to come, Cassidy said of the teams annual jersey night, when the football staff hands out its uniforms to all current players.
The night, which will include a Mass, dinner and jersey presentation in the schools auditorium, is an annual celebration for players who have made the varsity team.
Its a nice night, Cassidy said.
Johnson was a star running back for the Christ the King Royals last year, helping his team to the elite AAA playoffs. An academic star as well, Johnson had received recruiting letters from some of the nations top schools, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Bucknell and Columbia.
Johnsons life was cut short on Jan. 10, when the football star and two friends confronted Charles Sealey and accused him of taking Johnsons cousins cell phone in a fight earlier that day. When Johnson asked Sealey to return the phone, Sealey flashed a gun and the three friends left the front of the building at 353 Beach 57th St., police said.
As Johnson walked from the building, Sealey allegedly fired a couple of shots at the group, striking Johnson in his right eye, police said. He was pronounced dead 40 minutes later at Peninsula Hospital.
Sealey turned himself into police at the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway days after the murder. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, said a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorneys office. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.
Johnson, a born-again Christian, was buried in his Christ the King football uniform at Amityville Cemetery.
In March, The Thomas Kareem Johnson Jr. Foundation was established to fund activities that give local youth a productive alternative to the streets possibly including a football camp and a scholarship fund.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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