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Man with 'unmatched personality' killed in Henrico; search continues for the driver who killed him

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Man with 'unmatched personality' killed in Henrico; search continues for the driver who killed him
Posted at 1:34 PM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 20:12:58-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Deshawn "Rome" Johnson was killed Saturday night on Nuckols Road in western Henrico.

Police are investigating the 27-year-old man's death as the result of a hit-and-run crash.

Johnson's family described their loved one as a role model with an unmatched personality.

DeShawn Johnson 02.jpg

"The whole family is in shock, you know, we're crushed by this incident," said Deshawn's younger brother, Maurice Johnson.

Maurice said his brother was outgoing, funny and would brighten your day.

"You're having a crappy day, you wake up in the morning, don’t speak to Rome because he gonna make sure you laugh and well, that was just the type of soul he was. I don’t think I’m going to meet anyone like that," said Maurice.

Maurice said his brother was more than family, but a best friend.

"He was my strength and my peace. So I don't know how I'm going to cope with that, but I’m going to cope with that."

His youngest brother, Lamar Sims, said he looked up to Deshawn.

"He was more than a brother. He took that role model status. Always would give me info, tell me about what's right and wrong. Him and my brother, Mo, they'd always be rapping together, they had me rapping," said Sims. "He was my role model."

The family said the crash happened Saturday night when he was driving with his girlfriend, coming from a wedding just before 11 p.m.

Family and police said Deshawn stopped along Nuckols Road in the right lane, near Hickory Park Drive, got out, and was hit by a car.

"The officer observed a male lying in the roadway and a female next to his side," Henrico Police spokesperson Lt. Matt Pecka wrote in an email. "[They] immediately call[ed] for additional resources, including EMS, the officer began to render aid."

The truck driver and aspiring rapper later died at the hospital.

DeShawn Johnson 03.jpg

"Henrico Police Crash Team responded to the scene and is now searching for the driver and vehicle which struck Mr. Johnson and fled from the scene," Pecka continued.

Lead Investigator, Scottie Shoemaker, said Monday afternoon that police didn't have strong leads. They asked for the public's help in the investigation.

"We do not leave any stone unturned," said Shoemaker. "Everything's important. Even if you think it's insignificant."

Johnson's father and mother were still stunned that the driver would leave the scene of the crash.

"I just can't understand how someone could hit somebody like that and just keep going. He or she could've saved his life by just calling," said, father, Dermont Sims. "We could understand an accident, but the minute you chose to leave the scene of a crime like that, that's such a, just pulled away."

Deshawn's mother, Tonya Johnson, and the rest of the family urged the public and driver to come forward.

"Our angel has been taken away from us and I hope they find the person who did it. That would be justice for me," said Tonya. "Find him."

Anyone who was driving along Nuckols Road, between Twin Hickory Road and I-295 around 10:30 on Saturday night is asked to call Henrico Police.

"There is no detail too small as detectives search for the driver and vehicle that failed to stop at the crash scene," Pecka said.

Anyone with information may call Officer Shoemaker at (804) 928-0033 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

The Johnson family set up a GoFundMe to help cover these unexpected costs.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.