Back in Fall 2007, around Halloween, there was a shooting outside of an Atlanta area club. The two young men involved were both were Morehouse College students, a prestigious all men’s HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) located in Atlanta, Georgia. Joshua Norris pulled up to Rashad Johnson with a gun. As Rashad tried to muscle the gun from Joshua’s hands (Rashad was unarmed), it went off. In the end, one of the three shots lodged in Rashad’s leg. The bullet still remains in his leg to this day as a painful reminder of the events that night in 2007.
On a personal note, Rashad had been taking that Fall semester off to grieve his father’s passing just 3 months prior and was still living in Atlanta at the time (permanent home is in California). Since that time, Rashad has returned home to California.
This story made headlines recently because Joshua, the shooter, just received his college degree from Morehouse College this past weekend. This was the result of a sweet plea deal offered by the prosecuting attorney where Joshua plead no contest in exchange for 6 years of probation, 240 hours of community service, and the promise to finish his college education at Morehouse.
I scratched my head as I heard this story on CNN over the weekend. It just didn’t make sense.
Then I got angry…
The plea deal is ridiculous offering from the prosecution. Rashad said that he was not notified of this plea deal nor the court hearing where the decision was finalized. His attorney, the prosecuting attorney, has since resigned.
That’s it, and that’s the troubling part. Joshua gets off nearly scott-free with a college degree and cleaning a few toilets while his victim ends up returning home to cope with his injuries, the grief from the loss of his father, and presumably get a fresh start at a different school (although I did read he was trying to save money). The prosecuting attorney is not working anymore but no further action was taken. The administration at Morehouse College never paused to consider this situation, at a minimum, from the standpoint of ensuring the safety of other students. The judge blessed this plea deal (although I’m not familiar enough with law to know if the judge could have done anything to change the outcome).
The only ray of light is in knowing that Rashad intends to pursue a law degree after completing his bachelor’s at Sacramento City College.
Here are a few other resources that I read before preparing this post…
NBC 11 Atlanta– MOREHOUSE STUDENT SHOT, SHOOTER GRADUATES
Atlanta Journal-Constitution– TALE OF TWO MOREHOUSE STUDENTS HOLDS BIZARRE TWIST OF FATE