COMPTON — Shortly after young Autumn Johnson died from a gunshot wound to the head, Mayor Aja Brown issued an emphatic challenge for the capture of the perpetrators who committed the reckless crime of shooting into the year-old infant’s home and mortally wounding the baby as she lay in her crib.
“Let her death not be in vain,” Brown said at the time.
It’s been more than a year since Brown’s declaration. The February 2016 shooting, which occurred in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue, is a step closer to the justice process for Johnson’s family. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last week charged four men in connection with the infant’s murder.
Arraignment for the four suspects, Davion Douglas, Denzell Hull, Ronzay Richards and Ray Patterson, is scheduled for Oct. 13.
“I applaud the hard-working men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and every person from the Compton community that assisted in apprehending the alleged perpetrators that were involved in killing 1-year-old Autumn Johnson,” Brown said in a statement last week after the arrests were reported. “Autumn Johnson’s family deserves closure that can only be achieved by obtaining justice — however long it takes. Only by working together for peace can we root out gang violence and keep our families and community safe.”
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department homicide and Compton Sheriff’s Station Operation Safe Streets investigators were front and center in leading the investigation in the case.
Non-violent rallies in the city have been held by local activists and nonprofit organizations since Johnson’s murder to bring attention to and to help quell the violence. The city of Compton, along with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and FBI offered a $75,000 reward for information leading to Johnson’s killers.
The dogged pursuit of investigators finally caught up with Douglas, 27, Hull, 25, Richards, 25, and Patterson, 24. Patterson was initially charged in the case a year ago, but was released due to lack of evidence. Charged with accessory after the murder, Patterson is currently behind bars in a Nevada state prison on weapons charges.
Douglas, Hull and Richards have been brought up on murder and attempted murder charges. Like Patterson, Douglas and Hull are serving time now. Both men are in a state prison for burglary.