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December 5, 2012

Victims ready to see the sun shine

THOMASVILLE — When the darkness started to fade and the sun started to break through, a dark cloud covered the beaming rays. This time Gary Johnson and wife, Dorris Hill, are ready to see the sun shine.

 Just over a month ago, Johnson and Hill were victims to armed robbery and home invasion. On Nov. 2nd, Johnson and Hill didn’t think they were going to survive to see another sunrise. Three gunmen stole money, jewelry, and food, but more importantly stole peace from the hearts of Johnson and Hill. What seemed like just another day became the first of two days Johnson would never forget.

Since the attack, Johnson has been sleeping in the living room while his wife sleeps in the bedroom. At approximately 1:30 a.m on Wednesday morning, Johnson couldn’t believe what awoke him from his slumber. “I was laying down when I heard a noise and saw a shadow go by the window,” Johnson said. “I heard a “wham” and saw shadows at my window again after an attempt to get in the front door failed. I immediately turned my light on to scare them away, and I called the police.”

Police arrived and chased the two suspects, but unknown to the police and Johnson, the suspects had allegedly cut a hole in a surrounding neighbors fence to get away easier. “This has turn into mental abuse,” Johnson said. “We are paying rent for a place that we can’t even sleep in. I’m all right during the day, but when it gets dark I am reliving it all over again. I thought all of this mess was over. Who in the world thought they would come back?”

Johnson believes he knows who the suspects are, and he knows why they keep coming back. “When I moved here about a year ago, the crime rate was 95%, but now it has dropped a significant amount,” Johnson said. “Gangs used to walk these streets, but I have helped six gang members get out of that lifestyle and into a healthy, prosperous one. These attackers just want to scare me, so I will leave and gangs can rule again, but I’m not going to let all these young men lose their lives in the street.”

Through their outreach ministry, The Brother Hood of Love, Inc., Johnson and Hill open their home to those in need in the community providing food, clothing and other necessities.

Burglaries have been making headlines in Thomas County recently. “When I see that other people are going through this, it breaks my heart,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t ever wish this on any one.”

At press time, two suspects had been arrested.

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Georgia Department of Education District Effectiveness Specialist Bobby Smith educates Thomas County teachers about Georgia’s new accountability program, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, at a Tuesday meeting.

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