Crime, Cops and Community: One Mother's Changing Take On Guns
When it comes to guns, Marciarea Torney-Daramanu is sure of one thing.
“With my kids now? When they get of age to own a gun I will make sure they are trained to use a gun,” she said.
She didn’t always feel this way. On a rainy day she shows me into her kitchen in her home in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Macon. She points to a magnet on her refrigerator.
“This is my son right here,” Marciarea said.
The photo is Stacy K. Johnson, Jr., Marciarea’s son. He’s holding his children.
“He’s the one that got killed right there,” she said.
What happened to him in 2013 changed everything.
The whole family was moving back to Georgia from Wisconsin in 2013. Stacy, his girlfriend and their kids came down a few months before the rest of the family to reconnect with old friends in Jonesboro.
“On a Sunday, just like we do in Wisconsin, they had a like a family get together, friends get together you know with their kids, their wives, everything,” Marciarea said.
Stacy and three friends made a run to a convenience store for drinks. There they crossed paths with Michael Ray Jordan. Jordan was on parole after serving five years of a twenty year sentence for a car jacking he committed when he was 17. He had a gun during the car jacking and he had a gun again in 2013.
Even after the trial, Marciarea can still only guess why Jordan did what he did.
“Like he had a gang jacket on or something and I guess he thought people were looking at him or something?” Marciarea said.
Whatever happened in the store, Jordan ended up driving after Stacy Johnson and his friends as they left. They had no idea what was happening until they heard a strange sound.
“So just like you do, you know, hear an ambulance and you like looking around thinking ‘Where is it coming from?’” Marciarea said.
Part of that sound they couldn’t put a name to was gunfire. As he drove, Jordan was aiming bullet after bullet at the car carrying Stacy Johnson and his friends.
“ And the one that hit the windshield….as my son turned around it him like almost right in the ear like in the head,” Marciarea said.
Stacy K. Johnson Jr was shot on the third of March, 2013. He was taken off of life support on the 5th. He was 25. Michael Ray Jordan is serving life without parole but is appealing his conviction.
Marciarea says she did her best to keep this from happening. She says she never wanted to saddle her son with the life and death responsibility of a gun.
“You know I always told my son to stay away from guns and stuff like that. You know I always taught him that,” she said. “Because with a gun, if you pull it out, you better be ready to use it.”
But today she has doubts.
“People’s life is precious. And somebody took his,” she said.
There’s one question that still makes her angry. How did a convicted felon on parole for a gun crime get another gun? Regardless, Marciarea says she will control her anger before she gets her gun.
“I don’t want to be angry going to get the gun. I just want to be able to strictly peacefully go get my gun, know what I’m doing,” she said. “As soon as I have the means to do so I will do so.”
She says she wants to be able to protect her children. And here is the biggest change. Marciarea says she will not raise the children she has left at home the way she raised Stacy.
“I got three little ones. I have an eleven year old, a nine year old and an eight year old,” she said. “They will know how to use a weapon and they will know how to protect themselves.”
Marciarea Turney-Daramanu says she’s tired of watching parents bury their children. Times have changed and so has she. Her hope now is that her kids will have a fighting chance.