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Friends of teen killed on trail speak out; others defend robbery victim

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Jan 27 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2012 05:00:39 PM CST

Friends of a teenager who police said was shot and killed on the Thun Trail in Cumru Township are speaking out.

READING, Pa. -

Friends of a teenager who police said was shot and killed on the Thun Trail in Cumru Township are speaking out. They're upset about how he's being treated.

They said they don't support how Julius Johnson assaulted a man riding his bike. And they also don't like the lashing he is taking on Facebook.

Julius Johnson's friends said he was a sophomore at the Citadel. They used to hang out with him before and after school.

They said they know what he did was wrong, but don't think his family and friends should be tormented.

On Facebook there is a Rest in Peace memorial page for Johnson, 16. People posted comments like: "I guess Julius won't be thuggin' anymore!" and "I love a happy ending. You got exactly what you deserved Julius!! Too bad your two friends aren't with you right now."

"It's not a place for disrespectful things about him," said Brandon Pauley, a freshman in the Reading School District, "It hurts us. Me and Jada started to cry when we read those things."

Johnson's friends, Brandon Pauley and Jada Johson said strangers are writing hurtful things about how their friend died.

Police said Wednesday Johnson, along with two other teens, knocked an older man off his bike on the Thun Trail. Police said during the fight, the man took out a gun and shot two of the teens. The DA said even though Johnson died, the shooter was justified. His friends said they wish it didn't happen.

"We understand that what he did might be messed up," said Jada Johnson, "There's no excuse for it, but there's also no excuse for these negative comments. It's not fair to him."

Brandon and Jada said the Julius they knew was different.

"He's never been the kind of person to harm anyone that we have seen before so this is very surprising to us," said Pauley, "He is a human being and his death shouldn't be an excuse to anybody to call him names or make fun of him."

They don't justify his actions, but want people to respect Julius' friends and family.

"If you don't have anything positive or respectful to say about him that's fine stay off the memorial page then," said Pauley.

Julius Johnson's parents said they want to apologize for their son's actions to the man involved. They said Julius was not an angel, but he was their son and they love him.