"It's gonna be a lot quieter around here, I know that," says neighbor Steven Walker, his voice full of emotion. Walker has known Johnson for 15 years. "He was eccentric. I didn't think he would hurt a fly." Although eccentric, Walker says Johnson had many redeeming qualities and a good heart.
A month ago, Johnson helped Walker's family when there was a death the family. "He was the first one down here when my grandfather died of a heart attack. He tried to resuscitate him and stayed with grandma the whole time," says Walker.
He says Johnson would often lend a helping hand to him and his grandmother around the house. In many ways, he seemed to fit the definition of a good neighbor. But when you scratched beneath the surface, Walker says Johnson showed signs of being deeply mentally troubled. His behavior would become erratic when he neglected to take his medication.
He says Vanderburgh County deputies often came to Johnson's home when his behavior took a turn for the worse. "He'd go through phases where he'd be fine, he'd speak perfect English. Then the next time you talk to him, you don't even know what he's talking about, so yeah they've been out here quite a few times," says Walker.
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News just Monday they saw Johnson walking down the street naked. They say he claimed to have killed a cat -- with a machete -- on his porch. "The last few days he's been a lot worse than usual. I don't know if he wasn't on his meds or what," says Walker, who adds he is still shocked his neighbor's radical behavior led to his death.
"This was just a mistake. I don't know what set him off. I've never seen him like that. But just, that it wasn't him that night," says Walker. "I mean, my thoughts and prayers are with the sheriffs that had to shoot him and with Jeanie, his wife, because none of this should have happened... but they were doing their job."
Walker hopes his neighbors remember Johnson for his good heart, rather than a man whose mind seemingly took a dark twist during his final hours. "I will miss him," says Walker. "I mean, he wasn't a bad guy."
Sheriff Eric Williams says the two deputies who shot Johnson, Kevin Hertwek and Tony Toopes, were not hurt and followed standard procedure.