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Columbia Missourian

Douglass High School classmate DeAudre Johnson was well-loved

By Bethany Christo, Chris Roll
March 16, 2012 | 6:39 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Students at Douglass High School are visibly shaken by the death of their classmate, DeAudre Johnson, 17.

He died Tuesday morning at University Hospital after being shot Monday near Douglass Park. He was not the intended target, police said earlier this week.

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Johnson's death had students gathered in the halls and around the front entrance of the school mourning him.

Quine Lambert, 18, walked into the school's administrative office holding a 2-foot by 1-foot poster of Johnson, celebrating his life through pictures and a handwritten poem. She plans to have the poster framed and given to his family. Her poem, titled "Forever Missing You," draws from many memories she has of playing basketball with Johnson at the Armory Sports and Recreation Center and cracking jokes with him at school. 

"He told me I was his little big sister because I'm older than him, but he's taller than me," Lambert said. "I can't believe how in two blinks of an eye, he's gone."

On the basketball court, Johnson picked up the nickname "AKA Wheat." Everybody loved him, and his carefree attitude was infectious, Lambert said. She and Johnson had a routine: He would give her a hug and they would "clap, clap, salute," she said. 

Douglass director Eryca Neville has nothing but fond memories of Johnson. She described him as "kind-hearted" and "good-natured," adding that he also had a great sense of humor. 

"He was a fantastic kid," Neville said. "He had a lot of potential, and he was just starting to believe in that potential and act on it." According to a previous Missourian article, he had just received his driver's license and was looking forward to going to college.

A member of the Douglass basketball team, Johnson also honed his skills at the Armory, where he was one of the regulars. 

"He was into basketball and video games, and he loved to make people laugh," 

Camren Cross, recreation supervisor with Columbia Parks and Recreation, said.  

Former city councilwoman Almeta Crayton is helping collect food and donations for Johnson's family, even though she never knew Johnson or his family personally. She said people interested in helping should send donations to H.T. May and Son Funeral Home.

Minister Thomas May, director of the funeral home, said no donations for the family have been received as of Friday afternoon. A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening in Johnson's memory.

 DeAudre Johnson of Columbia died Tuesday, March 13, 2012, of a gunshot wound to the upper body. He was 17.

He was born Feb. 17, 1995.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at H.T. May and Son Funeral Home, 2207 Holly Ave. Visitation begins at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

Mr. Johnson is survived by his mother, Resa Jenkins; his stepfather, David Jenkins; his father, Robert Johnson; brother, Julius Cureton; two sisters, Tonisha Jones and Bridgette Jenkins; and his grandparents, Robert Burnett, Carole Jones, Willie Jones and Teola Wright, all of Columbia. 

Memorial contributions can be sent to the funeral home.