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Mom: Son was killed 5 minutes after phone call

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:21:03 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 08:47:46 PM CST
GREENVILLE -

Police released the identity of a man shot multiple times and killed.

Officers got the call at about 8:24 p.m. Wednesday to 1232-B Westridge Court, said Sgt. Joe Friday of the Greenville Police Department. When investigators arrived, the found 36-year-old Anthony Antonio Johnson, of Tarboro, dead in the front yard. Detectives believed Johnson was living at the duplex.

According to witnesses, there had been a confrontation  between Johnson and at least two other men in the street just before shots were fired, Sgt. Friday said. Johnson's mother, Joyce, said she had just spoken to her son on the phone prior to the shooting -- approximately 5 minutes.

His family, who often referred to him by his nickname "Breeze" said they are devastated by the news. Breeze's aunt, Minnie Battle, described how she felt the moment she got the phone call.

"It was really unbelievable. You know, I just really couldn't believe it. And then to see that he's gone on now it's very hard....that's my nephew. My first born nephew," Battle said.

Breeze's mom and sister, though, are having the hardest time. 

"My sister and Breeze were like sister and brother. She talked to him every day," Battle said.

According to family, Breeze had just moved there a few months ago to live with his friend, Scoop. He lived in the home with Scoop's girlfriend and three children.

His family said Johnson was incarcerated in the 1990's for drug charges. However, since that time they said he has been clean. His family has no idea why anyone would want to harm him.

"Breeze was a nice guy. he didn't bother nobody. He always stayed home," Battle said.

"He was just always there for me. I could talk to him about anything. He was like an uncle more than a cousin because he was always there," Sabarrius Lewis, his first cousin, said.

Johnson was shot several times in his upper body and legs, Sgt. Friday said.

Police were canvassing the area and taking people in for questioning, Sgt. Friday said. Detectives remained on the scene overnight to process evidence.

Investigators did develop leads in the shooting, Sgt. Friday said. But no information on suspects were released.

Battle hopes there is justice for her nephew soon.

"You know whoever did it. You know I just hope they get em,' You know but they didn't have to kill him. They didn't have to kill my nephew like that," she said.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Greenville Police Department.