Reserve Sergeant James Milton Johnson

Reserve Sergeant James Milton Johnson

Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, November 11, 2004

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James Milton Johnson

Reserve Sergeant James Johnson was shot and killed after being confronted by an armed suspect in front of his home.

The suspect had a long standing disagreement with his neighbors over property boundaries. The man had moved from the property earlier in the month, but returned with a rifle and murdered the couple he was in the dispute with.

The killer then confronted Reserve Sergeant Johnson and his 10-year-old grandson. Reserve Sergeant Johnson was able to distract the killer, which allowed his grandson to escape into the house and notify his grandmother, who called police. When deputies were dispatched to the scene, Reserve Sergeant Johnson's son-in-law, who was a full-time deputy and off-duty, learned of the call and immediately responded to the scene.

In the meantime, Reserve Sergeant Johnson attempted to diffuse the situation but at some point was shot. When his son-in-law arrived at the scene, he encountered the assailant and became engaged in a shootout and was wounded.

The 59-year-old killer was also shot and wounded by return fire. He was taken into custody and charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted capital murder. The action of the two deputies were credited with preventing the killer from murdering the couple's 5-year-old son, who was in the home at the time of the shooting.

The suspect was convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died in prison September 8th, 2018.

Reserve Sergeant Johnson is survived by his wife and three children. He had served with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department for 7 years, and had previously served with the Kernersville Police Department in both full-time and part-time capacities for 28 years.


  • Age 59
  • Tour 35 years
  • Badge 273

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Hey Daddy, just wanted to leave you a message and ask that the Lord continue to guide me in the plans He has for me. I know you would be proud of what I'm doing, but sometimes it gets hard to keep going. I can't wait until my work here is done and I can join you and my sweet sons, and see Jesus face to face! How amazing that must be! In the meantime, I am trying to keep focused on the goal.
I am sure you know that the man who took your life has lost his. I'm sure his final judgment was fair. At least now, he can't hurt anyone else.
We've lost several LEOs recently, and last week a Trooper from NC went home. I was comforted to know that he knew and loved the Lord and was welcomed in heaven. I just wish the violence would end.
I can just imagine how proud you are of your oldest granddaughter and her accomplishments in Law Enforcement! Her daddy and I couldn't be happier for her although she is nearly 2 hours away from home now. And Jordan is such a good daddy himself! Your first great-granddaughter, Piper, is now 6 months old and looks just like her dad! She is a chunky, happy baby and it still doesn't seem possible that I'm a grandmother! I'm still your baby girl <3 Katie is a senior in high school and making decisions about college. I'm not ready for the empty nest... but life goes on.
Sending love to heaven~ always and forever~

Lori Johnson Rowley
His Daughter

October 24, 2018

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