BRPD: Teenage girl shot in May dies

Dedric White
Dedric White

A 16-year-old Baker girl who was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of gunshot wounds suffered in early May died Wednesday from “complications due to gunshot wounds,” the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner said Friday.

Mary Johnson, 13202 Morvant St., was shot in the neck and back at 12:08 a.m. May 5 in the 3700 block of Topeka Street after allegedly refusing to have sex with the suspect, Dedric White, 18, 4115 Mohican St., said Baton Rouge police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.

McKneely said he did not know if Johnson and White knew each other prior to that night.

Dr. William “Beau” Clark said his preliminary finding is that Johnson died from sepsis, developed from pneumonia. Clark said sepsis is an overwhelming bacterial infection, and in this case, her pneumonia became so bad that it left the lungs and spread to the rest of the body.

“I would classify it as ‘complications due to gunshot wounds,’ meaning the gunshot didn’t actually kill her,” Clark said.

Their inability to move makes quadriplegics at greater risk for infections, Clark said.

James Freeman Jr., 33, of New Orleans, the husband of Johnson’s foster sister, said Johnson loved to dance and was the life of the party.

“She pretty much loved everything, except sitting at the house,” Freeman said. “She always loved to dance and dabbled in sports.”

Freeman said Johnson displayed her acting talents in plays at Immaculate Conception Church in Baton Rouge, where she and her foster brother Marquise Johnson, 18, were altar servers.

Freeman said the memory he will cherish the most of her is when a large group of family members went to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and “had the time of a lifetime.”

Johnson had a 2-year-old son Brandon, who lives with Joyce Johnson, Mary’s foster mother, according to Freeman.

McKneely said Mary Johnson ran away from her foster home and the state placed her in a group home, which she also ran away from multiple times.

The charge against White, who was booked on May 24 with attempted second-degree murder in the shooting, will be upgraded to second-degree murder, McKneely said.