‘I cried so much,’ schoolmate says after 4 kids slain
Sheriff's deputies and SWAT team members converged on a Port St. John home early Tuesday after reports of shootings.
May 16th, 2012
01:25 PM ET

‘I cried so much,’ schoolmate says after 4 kids slain

Friends of four Florida children who police say were fatally shot by their mother reacted with tears and stunned silence Tuesday when they found out their classmates were dead.

Student Malcolm Murray, a friend of slain teenager Jaxs Johnson, said the killings were announced over the loudspeaker Tuesday at Space Coast Junior-Senior High School in Cocoa, Florida, where Johnson and two of his siblings attended.

"It's unfair she had to take his life," Murray told CNN affiliate WKMG. "I cried so much I can’t cry anymore."

Authorities said Tonya Thomas, 33, killed her four children - Joel Johnson, 12; Jazlin Johnson, 13; Jaxs Johnson, 15; and Pebbles Johnson, 17 – before fatally shooting herself early Tuesday at their home in Port St. John.

Some of the children went to a neighbor’s home to say that their mother was shooting them, but they returned to their house when Thomas called them back and Thomas shot them again, killing them, Brevard County Sheriff’s Lt. Tod Goodyear said, according to WKMG.

“After we found out who died at our school, no one really wanted to talk,” student Jacob Nelson, who sat next to Jaxs Johnson in history class, told CNN affiliate WESH. “It was just really hard to digest what really happened and how it happened.”

Goodyear said police don’t know of a motive in the shooting. Friends and court documents, however, revealed that Jaxs and his mother were having difficulties.

Jaxs was arrested in April on a domestic violence charge, accused of fighting with his mother when she tried to wake him up for school, WKMG and WESH reported. He was supposed to appear in juvenile court on Tuesday in connection with the case, according to WKMG.

Friends said Jaxs didn’t appear in school on Monday, WKMG reported. Officials said they believe Jaxs was the first child shot on Tuesday morning, according to WESH.

Murray said Jaxs, when they last spoke, said things were getting better at home.

“(Jaxs) said everything was good in the family and they were getting back to the way they used to be, so for this to happen, I broke down, because I didn’t see it coming at all,” Murray told WKMG.

The children's father did not live with the family and was distraught after hearing of the killings, the affiliates reported.

Friends and relatives left a teddy bear, notes, candles and flowers outside the home on Tuesday, CNN affiliate CFN13 reported.

“We want people to know that they weren’t forgotten, no matter what happened today,” neighbor Tony Amador told WKMG.

High school student Corbin Wratchford said Pebbles Johnson was in his physics class.

"She just brought the classroom to life," Wratchford told CFN13. "The teacher loved her. She made everything else better.

“I had a class with Jaxs Johnson, too. He was in my team sports class, and he was also really fun.”

The victims’ schools said they made grief counselors available to students Wednesday.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. R

    what in the world is wrong with those kids.. their mom shot them, they went to the neighbor, then they went back to get 'finished' being killed..

    May 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maggie

    Expect to hear more and more of these problems. Ever since the New Welfare exchange brought on by Bill Clinton, it's gotten so much tougher for single Moms. This needs to change. Some of the parent's need free access to counseling.

    It is truly a sad state of affairs.

    May 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nlcatter

    cant belive how many idiots live in FLorida
    she had been arrested before – her son was acting due to her Violence in the house
    their was no calming down, school did NADA to help
    neighbors were COWARDS pathetic COWARDs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you all dont know how to vote
    you let people murder children.
    your schools suck
    you weather in Summer is HORRID!
    it is a pathetic place

    May 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Name* Irma

    Very sad story. I pray for the family. May the memories of their love give for their family bring comfort in your heart. May all the children including their mother Rest in Peace.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CdnJim

    The important thing is that she had access to a gun. That's what the right to keep and bear arms is all about. Obviously her children were working for the evil King James and trying to bring his tyranical reign to our shores. Put another 4 notches on your pistol grip gun nuts.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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