‘My baby, she was one of a kind’: 17-year-old shot, killed on Beatties Ford Road

Courtesy of Evelyn Poe

When Alysha Johnson pulled up to the 2200 block of Beatties Ford Road on Monday in her boyfriend’s car, she was full of hope.

She was exactly a month from her 18th birthday, and only two weeks from another milestone: moving in with her long-term boyfriend Deante Walker.

“She was so excited that morning,” Walker’s grandmother Evelyn Walker-Poe remembered. Alysha had been living with her boyfriend at Walker-Poe’s home for about six months, and the couple had just signed a lease for an apartment together.

But Alysha will never get to move into that apartment.

She was shot and pronounced dead outside her boyfriend’s car on Beatties Ford Road. Three people — Juan Zamora, 17, Andy Garcia, 16, and a 15-year-old unnamed male — were arrested Tuesday and charged with murder.

Alysha, whose middle name was Antoinette, also went by the names Nettie and Jada. She is survived by her parents, Joanna Rodriguez and Dale Johnson, and four siblings.

“My baby, she was one of a kind,” said her father, Dale Johnson. “She was everything a daughter could be.”

Alysha and her boyfriend of two and a half years adored each other, her father said. They went to parks together, and fished at places around the Charlotte area. At night, they came back to Walker-Poe’s home to play video games, which Alysha loved.

“She was the happiest person in the world when she was with him,” Walker-Poe said.

Alysha had already started shopping for the new apartment, which she planned to decorate with splashes of her favorite color, red. Decorations and household items are still piled in Walker-Poe’s home.

“She was a sweet, humble young lady,” said Star McDonald, who works at Revenue on the Rise Tax Preparation Service and had just helped Walker and Johnson sign their lease. “She had a lot of aspirations and dreams.”

Alysha graduated early from Hopewell High School in January, where she was well-known by her peers, her father said. She played volleyball at times and worked hard in the classroom.

She loved working with kids most of all, and had dreams of becoming a nurse. To graduate, she volunteered with special needs children, and that’s what her father said made her realize her true passion. Alysha planned to start nursing school this year.

For the last six months, Alysha worked five days a week at Mrs. Sneads Creative Kids Learning Academy, a daycare in Charlotte. There, the kids called her by another name: Cinderella.

“She was like their princess,” said Walker-Poe. “Nettie was into acting with her kids.”

The preschool, Walker-Poe said, was closed Tuesday in honor of their princess.