A man who urged an end to violence in Oakland after gunfire killed his son and grandson as they slept three years ago became a victim himself this week as he drove near a street memorial for his slain family. Melvin Johnson, 39, was shot and killed Tuesday on the east side of the city, not far from the shrine for his 16-month-old grandson and 20-year-old son, who were fatally shot in August 2013, the East Bay Times reports. Police have made no arrests and released no motive for Johnson's killing. They have not said if the shooting was random or if Johnson was targeted. "In three years and four months, three generations of one family [have] been lost to gun violence in the streets of Oakland," community activist Sherri-Lyn Miller tells the AP. She was a friend of Johnson's.
"Melvin Johnson was a giant teddy bear, and the loss has not only devastated the Johnson family, but all that knew him," Miller says. Johnson had moved his son, Andrew "Drew" Thomas, and grandson, Drew Leon Deon Jackson, to the central California city of Fresno to get them away from Oakland's street violence, but they were slain while in town for a birthday party. A shooter fired into a relative's home in the middle of the night, killing the sleeping pair. The slayings are still unsolved. Johnson's mother, Carolyn Smith, spoke of her late son Wednesday as a good person who was committed to his family following a series of tragedies. Another of his sons, 8-year-old Jahmel Johnson, died last month after a battle with lymphoma. Melvin "helped everybody, he loved everybody," his mother said. (Read more Oakland stories.)