Damario Johnson with his mother, Sue Ellen. Johnson, age 26, was shot while he was trying to diffuse an altercation while working as a security guard at Cafe Arizona on Thanksgiving morning. Courtesy photo

Damario Johnson with his mother, Sue Ellen. Johnson, age 26, was shot while he was trying to diffuse an altercation while working as a security guard at Cafe Arizona on Thanksgiving morning. Courtesy photo

Community rallies to help man paralyzed in Federal Way shooting

Family members protest Cafe Arizona, call for nightclub’s closure.

As community members rally to help the family of a 26-year-old man who was paralyzed during a shooting on Thanksgiving morning, some are also calling for the closure of the Federal Way nightclub where the incident occurred.

Federal Way police responded to the shooting at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 22 and found Damario Johnson with a gunshot wound to his chest. Johnson was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he is still hospitalized, according to Federal Way police Commander Kurt Schwan.

Johnson’s family, who has set up a GoFundMe account called #JusticeForDamario, said he was shot from behind while working as a security guard at Cafe Arizona.

“Damario was trying to diffuse an altercation and was shot in the process,” according to the GoFundMe page, which has so far raised over $4,000 towards the fundraiser’s $25,000 goal. “He has a spinal cord injury that has hindered his ability to walk. THE DAMAGE COULD BE PERMANENT!”

The family said that Johnson’s mother, Sue Ellen, is no longer able to work as she is currently his primary caregiver during his recovery period.

“This entire ordeal will put Damario and his loving mother in a financial bind,” according to the fundraiser, which also states that Johnson’s parents and siblings are “fighting hard to stay strong and positive throughout these unfortunate circumstances.”

Johnson’s family also criticized Cafe Arizona officials for the amount of time it took them to respond to the family, and said the club had already planned another event the same week that Johnson was shot.

His family took to social media before the Dec. 4 Federal Way City Council meeting, calling on Johnson’s supporters to protest for the closure of Cafe Arizona at the meeting.

“I want justice and I especially want this club shut down for good,” Johnson’s mother told the Mirror.

During the meeting, Johnson’s aunt, Keli Johnson, criticized the night club for not having any security cameras, allegedly not having insurance and for “not taking responsibility for the people that work there.”

“It took them a week-and-a-half to contact the family to see how he was doing,” Kelly Johnson said at the meeting. “They took no responsibility at all.”

She noted that her nephew was shot while protecting the facility, and the club hasn’t apologized for what happened.

“That’s incredible to me,” Kelly Johnson said. “So I’m here imploring you to do something about establishments like this that are not prepared or safe for not only the people that work there, but the people that are there not realizing there was no cameras … I’m here asking your help to do something about this. Cafe Arizona should not be in business.”

Her response was met with applause from the audience.

Cafe Arizona could not be reached for comment.

Allison Taylor, who was stabbed nine times by her husband in October, also spoke out during the council meeting in support of Johnson.

“As someone who just spent 35 days in a room across the hall from him where he is now, I went and met him last night,” Taylor said of her visit with Johnson at the hospital. She said he is in a “dark place and he is going to need some support” from the community.

“I know that you guys came out there for me, and I hope each one of you will come out there for him,” she urged the community.

Commander Schwan said police currently do not have any suspect information. He said witnesses to the shooting “either refused to cooperate with the investigation or fled the area for their own safety at the time of the incident.”

He added there is no surveillance video. Police urge anyone with information to contact the Federal Way Police Department.

More in News

Federal Way unifies in prayer

“Unity in Prayer” service raises $10,000 for Multi-Service Center.

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Moms create autism art walk to benefit special needs classrooms

Autism Auction and Art Walk happens Feb. 24 in Federal Way.

Courtesy photo by Why Not You Foundation
                                Russell Wilson and Ciara unveil the limited edition King County System Library cards that feature them and their dreams Friday at the Tukwila Library. The new library cards coincide with the newly launched DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign.
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Federal Way mayor gets firsthand glimpse of homelessness

Federal Way mayor, Mirror staff volunteer at men’s overnight homeless shelter.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Founder of Everyone for Veterans, Theresa Cheng helps Alice Richard deliver a mattress to a veteran family in Federal Way as part of the Wingman Project in Dec. 2018. Photo Courtesy of Everyone for Veterans.
Actions speak louder than words; Everyone for Veterans is making an effort to help low-income veterans and their families

Non-profit organization connects community members with veterans through their wingman project

Most Read