KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Her smile, the way she made anyone, strangers or friends, feel welcome, and the daily phone calls with updates about life. Those are just some of the memories, stories, and traits shared by Sherril Johnson’s friends and family.
Gathered near the call center where Johnson worked, dozens gathered to pay their respects, most lining up to meet her father, Howard, to share how she personally touched their lives.
“Tell the people you see everyday, just tell them you love them… it’s the little things that matter.” Another friend of Sherril’s shares a personal story.— Madisen Keavy (@madisenkeavy) April 5, 2019
Johnson was shot and killed by her boyfriend, Timothy Dion Wells, 44, on Sunday, March 31 just before 2 a.m. Knoxville Police responded to Deer Run Drive where, originally, Wells reported to police the shooting was self-inflicted.
Wells has been charged with second degree murder after initially stating his girlfriend, Johnson, 31, shot herself in the head for some unknown reason.
“It’s always gonna be what if, but you don’t want to think about ‘what if’ we can’t change the situation, we don’t know why…” said Howard Johnson, Sherril’s father.
Howard says his daughter was his “best friend” and only child. He says they would talk often, and although he lives in Lousiana, the two were close.
“It doesn’t seem real to me, I’m quite sure it’ll be difficult in the long run because I won’t hear her voice [any] more,” said Howard.
He says his focus is Johnson’s 12-year-old daughter, Kylea.
Friends & family release purple balloons into the sky but right before they did, a gust of wind blew through. There were a lot of laughs, her family said, “It’s Sherril.” #WATE pic.twitter.com/IU3MgHZavo— Madisen Keavy (@madisenkeavy) April 5, 2019
Howard said he wasn’t surprised by the number of people who attended the balloon release and memorial and said it is a sign his daughter will live on through those that love her.
A family friend at the memorial, who also works for Iva’s Place, a crisis center for those facing abuse, said Johnson’s story can save others.
“As a community we need to do something about it, and we can,” said Chris Longmire.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.