Homicide victim active in church, cared for others

Sharon Johnson was a pillar of the First United Methodist Church, and her church family says it will take time to heal from her loss.
Johnson was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln. Those who knew her said she was a pillar of their church community and that she will be greatly missed.
Johnson was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln. Those who knew her said she was a pillar of their church community and that she will be greatly missed.(10/11 NOW)
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 6:51 PM CDT
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two men are behind bars following yesterday’s homicide; the victim, 69-year-old Sharon Johnson of Lincoln. Johnson was the sole passenger on the bus on Thursday.

Johnson was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln. Those who knew her said she was a pillar of their church community and that she will be greatly missed.

“I was just a new member at the church and Sharon was there,” said John Spilker, a church member. “Sharon wanted to get to know me, She always would come up and give us both a hug.”

She played the organ, piano, flute and handbells and sang in the choir.

“She was just a woman of excellence and she wanted to make sure everyone knew they were loved,” said Pastor Kirstie Engel. “She always gave hugs.”

Sharon was active at her church, attending nearly every service, leaving those who knew her with fond memories.

“I spilled the bread, and oh, Sharon was not happy,” said Pastor Engel. “She was like, you spilled Jesus! It was so cute, but we got past that.”

During this time of COVID-19, she had missed being in one of her favorite places.

“I’ve been calling her during this whole COVID process, and saying, you know,” said Morgan Cowell, a church member. “We’ll be back soon, we’ll be back together soon, Like, soon you’ll be able to do normal things again and that’s not going to happen now.”

The men accused of shooting her while she was on the bus are now in custody.

The investigation has revealed the bus was in motion on the city street, when the bullet entered the driver’s side of the bus, striking Sharon where she was seated,” said LPD Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

Joel Jones Junior and Jarell Wheeler were found about three hours after the shooting at a gas station in north Lincoln. Jones was also lodged for possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, discharging a firearm near a vehicle and using a firearm to commit a felony. Wheeler was arrested for accessory to second-degree murder.

Engel said without Johnson, it will take the congregation time to heal.

“I just can’t believe she’s not here. Her personality was just bigger than life,” said Pastor Engel. “I can still feel her presence even right now.”

This investigation is ongoing. If you have relevant information, you’re asked to call Lincoln Police or Crime Stoppers.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.