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Carjacking may have fueled Ontario killing

April 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gregory Johnson's family believes gang activity may be the reason for his death. His son believes his father may have tried to ward off a carjacking attempt and was murdered for it.

Johnson, a father of four, was found near Sixth Street and Holmes Court around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. His 2006 Ford Explorer turned up about a mile away near D Street and Begonia Avenue.

He was not far from the safety of his home and family when neighbors discovered his body in an alley Sunday evening. It was a violent end for a man who once served his country and lived to raise a family.

"If a Marine is going to die, he's should die in battle, even competition, not as a hostage," said Gregory Johnson Jr., the victim's son.

Gregory Jr. proudly showed medals his father received as a Marine in the Vietnam War. The 59-year-old father of four was a constant driving force and center of his family.

"Definitely the hardest working man I've ever met," said Gregory Jr. "He served in Vietnam as a Marine. He was a God-fearing man. This guy read the Bible probably three or four times in a row."

He was a devout man whose life was violently taken. Ontario Police are searching for a suspect in what they believe was a carjacking.

"This looks like it might have been a crime of opportunity. We're not sure at this time," said Ontario Police Detective Jeff Crittenden.

Johnson's 2006 Ford Explorer was found 3 miles away from his body at D Street and Begonia Avenue.

"During the investigation, about three hours into it, we found out that his vehicle was missing, so by entering the vehicle into the stolen-vehicle system, we were able to find that it had a LoJack [car security] system on it and recovered the vehicle," said Crittenden.

Monday friends stopped by the Johnsons' home to provide comfort for his grieving widow and children.

For his son and namesake, there will be no rest until his father's killer is found.

"I'm just so full of anger right now that I got nothing nice to say to this person," said Gregory Jr.

The cause of death will be determined by the San Bernardino County coroner.

Anyone with information related to the incident was urged to call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-6711.

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