DA's office will decide if homicide was self defense

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The district attorney's office will now determine if murder charges will be filed in Gwinnett first homicide of the new year, a bizarre case that may be ruled self defense.

Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said Thursday that his department had "submitted everything" regarding 48-year-old Darrell Johnson's death to the Gwinnett County district attorney's office. It will determine whether or not 21-year-old Derrick Brown will be charged with murder for fatally shooting his girlfriend's father on Jan. 5.

"A determination will be made whether charges are justified and which charges would be appropriate," Whitehead said, "or (if) the matter was a case of self defense."

According to initial police reports, Brown and his girlfriend, Johnson's daughter, were involved in some sort of domestic dispute Jan. 4 at a friend's home on Parkside Court. The female reportedly left after the original incident but returned at about 3 a.m. on Jan. 5 with her father, her mother and a friend.

An altercation allegedly ensued between Brown and Johnson, during which Johnson "struck Mr. Brown with a club several times." The fight was broken up but reportedly resumed when Johnson began hitting Brown with a metal barbell, fracturing his elbow.

Brown then shot Johnson twice. Emergency personnel arrived on scene but were unable to save Johnson, a Covington resident, Whitehead said.

Brown has not been charged, and it's unclear when the district attorney's office may decide if doing so is necessary.

"I don't have a time frame as to how long that might be," Whitehead said.

Inquiries into the original domestic dispute have not been responded to.


Jan 2 years, 9 months ago

With the meager facts presented here, one can easily conclude it was self defense. But: First, many details have been omitted. Second, one might conclude one shot is self defense but the second would probably have been excessive. Third, previous details indicated that Brown left the room and came back with a concealed gun. This indicates to me the strong possibility that he wanted to goad Johnson into another attack so he could surprise him with lethal force, in which case it is premeditated first degree murder. Let the DA examine ALL the facts and make a fair determination.


TOWG 2 years, 9 months ago

What in the world would make a second shot excessive? That hero mom in Loganville who shot that home invader hit the creep 5 times and he was still able to get into his car and drive, not far maybe, but he walked down the stairs and out of the house! People don't drop at the first shot most of the time. This isn't the movies.


BurritoJones 2 years, 9 months ago

I believe the rationale behind questioning whether or not the second shot was excessive is related to the time between the first and second shot. The Loganville woman unloaded every round very quickly, and under panic. The DA is investigating if Brown eliminated the threat with the first shot, had a moment to reflect, then fired a second shot "for good measure".

In cases of self defense, judges usually don't show much appreciation for a coup de grace.


Jan 2 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, BurritoJones for your excellent explanation. Let me add that the woman had no idea of weapons that the man might have possessed. Once down, he might have drawn a gun and fired back. Fortunately, he was apparently unarmed. Brown new Johnson only had the barbell. The first shot should have stopped the assault. With three witnesses, hopefully the investigators can get an accurate picture of what happened. One might also ask why the three others witnessing this did not stop Johnson.


gwinnettresident1 2 years, 8 months ago

Jan you are a different kind of stupid....Nothing in this story said he left the room to retrieve a weapon...if he were like me he had it on him all the time..You are the most liberal person on here ever...He&* you need to live in Washington or California with the rest of the limp wrist.


Jan 2 years, 8 months ago

I used my brain. It is highly unlikely that anyone carries a gun around in their pajamas pocket. Further, he must not have had it in the initial altercation since he did not pull it out then. Hence, he must have gone somewhere to retrieve it. If it had been in the room, then the third witness or mother would have seen it and warned Mr. Johnson. Though not being there, none of us can be absolutely certain of the events, from the information given, it is extremely probable that he left the room to get the gun. I am always amused by those demonstrating irrational prejudices seem to think "liberal" is an insult.


dudley4141 2 years, 9 months ago

The girlfriend left then came back with her father, mother and a friend? Liiks like the girlfriend was looking for trouble, if the DA is looking at charging someone, charge the girlfriend. She is the one that caused her fathers dealth.


RiggaTony 2 years, 9 months ago

What a waste of time. Of course it was self defense. Brown owned the gun legally, and legal gun owners never use their weapons to commit crimes. Therefore, the dead father had to have been in the wrong and deserved to die.


kevin 2 years, 9 months ago

Snellville again? That town must be in a world of its own. There must be a mob that governs that place. Any new apartments been built in Snellville yet? Why not?


kayak 2 years, 9 months ago

Knock-down depends on caliber and, to some degree, the physical size of the target. The lady with the intruder was probably shooting a .25 cal. pea shooter or something with no shock value.
The first article on the Brown/Johnson incident mentioned the father going upstairs to retrieve articles of clothing that belonged to the daughter. One doesn't need to stretch too far to figure out what was going on up there and it helps explain the fury of the father and their return to the scene at 3am. The interval between her initial departure and the family's return is not mentioned. Nothing good happens at 3am; certainly proper justice and an equitable outcome cannot be expected, especially showing up without law enforcement. Bet the dad never expected THAT outcome.


notblind 2 years, 8 months ago

Everybody needs to read up on the John McNeil case before they decide they are an expert on how 'self defense' shootings play out when they go to trial.


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