Families of unsolved murder victims ask for answers, closure at vigil

Joe Johnson.JPG
Posted at 10:24 PM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 23:24:24-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — When a murder case goes cold, family members of victims are left searching for answers.

A group of people that gathered Wednesday evening in Antioch have a heartbreaking bond: no arrests have been made in their loved ones' murders. As of October in Metro Nashville, more than a dozen murder cases have gone unsolved.

This is the tenth consecutive year the organization Partners in Struggle has held, bringing a level of awareness to unsolved murders in Nashville.

Founder and CEO Earl Jordan said the goal is to encourage hope in all families whose loved ones have been murdered. Jordan hosted a prayer and provided encouragement and hope to the families -- like the mother of Joe Ivory Johnson.

Johnson was murdered in 2018. Detectives say he was shot multiple times in the Dollar General Store parking lot on Lafayette Street around 10:40 p.m. on September 30.

Police believe the shooter was waiting for Johnson to arrive at his friend's car after which the victim was shot.

Johnson's mother Tracy Shepherd just wants answers.

"A whole year and somebody murdered your kid that didn't do nothing to them, didn't do nothing to them, murdered him," Shepherd said.

Metro Nashville Police say there are cases where they are confident they know who committed the crime, but they need another witness as well as evidence to build a case that can be prosecuted. In 2018, 69.7% of Nashville murders were solved. This was a decrease from 2017 when it was 70.3%.

Tracy Shepherd says she doesn't want to see this happen to any more families.

"This could be your family," she said. "When it becomes your family, it’s going to be a whole different scenario, you’re going to want people to stand up, you’re going to want people to get up in the courtroom and speak some words."

If you have any information on the murder of Joe Johnson call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.