5-month-old loses both parents to violence

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 10:33:49-04

CINCINNATI -- Looking at the sweet face of William Thomas III, you’d never know the the 5-month-old has faced such hardships in his young life.

No child should have to grow up like baby Will. He lost his mother, Shawnice Johnson, in a May 19 attack in Walnut Hills. His father, William Thomas Jr., was gunned down 45 days later on July 4.

Shawnice’s cousin, Marquetta Johnson, said she’s heartbroken the 5-month-old will never know his parents.

“Somebody really actually has to paint a picture of his mother,” she said.

Shawnice’s memorial still stands near Oak and Stanton, where police say she and Markeisha Elliot got into a physical altercation. Another memorial was erected just feet behind it honor of William Thomas Jr.

“Just the fact that we have to do that for her, and then we have to do it for him 45 days later, that's sickening,” Marquetta said.

Mitch Morris, who advocates against gun violence through Cincinnati Works, said it’s not enough to just talk about it. People have to “be about it,” he said.

“Now you're losing mothers and fathers of the same children to gun violence,” Morris said. “What is it going to take?”

In the wake of tragedy, Marquetta said baby Will’s laugh brings her peace.

“We're all kind of working together proactively to make sure he's OK,” she said.