COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Two families are heartbroken after a double homicide in South Columbus Monday night killed two teens, 18-year-old Montrell Johnson and 17-year-old Deontae Joseph.
The two young men were shot and killed on 32nd Avenue.
According to Columbus police, Johnson and Joseph were walking down the street when a suspect gunned them down before driving away, in what witnesses say was a dark-colored sedan, possibly an older Ford Crown Vic.
“They took my friend away from me,” said Yamechia Johnson, a lifelong friend of Joseph.
Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said since the beginning of September, Columbus has had six homicides, bringing the total in Muscogee County to 30 this year. In all of 2018, there were 34.
But for two local families, these most recent murders are more than just a crime statistic; they represent the loss of someone they love.
“It’s really sad," said Joviet Lewis, Joseph’s cousin. "Don’t nobody think about who’s it hurting. It hurts the family.”
Cousins, aunts, parents, friends and more gathered at the house of Joseph’s grandmother Tuesday, trying to find comfort through one another.
“It’s hard,” said Joseph’s mother, Marcella Joseph.
Johnson said she doesn’t understand how this could happen to her friend.
“He was a good person, so why would they do something like that,” she said.
Joseph’s cousin said the fact that these two young men were in their teens makes their deaths even harder.
“For my little cousin, 17, come on 17," Lewis said. "Come on, for real? You haven’t lived your life yet, you haven’t begun your life, haven’t started anything.”
She's begging anyone with information to come forward.
“It’s not about snitching,” she said. “Nobody is snitching. It’s telling the truth because guess what, we’re hurting right now, my aunt, my cousin, his mom, we’re hurting right now.”
News Leader 9 was unable to reach Johnson’s family.