Grieving family of pregnant woman gunned down by husband says system failed them

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The family and friends of a Richmond mother gunned down in front of her kids say the justice system failed them.

Jawanda Johnson, 26, was shot and killed Thursday on Chalfont Drive. A fugitive task force tracked down the suspected shooter, 28-year-old Terrell Cook, Friday morning. He was Johnson’s husband. Police say he killed himself in a home in Christiansburg.

26-year-old Jawanda Johnson.

Neighbors and friends say it was a heartbreaking scene at the apartment complex Thursday.

Shana Le Master, a neighbor, said she heard the gunshots.

The children came out of the house and ran to my mother and I and they were we’re crying, ‘please don’t let them take my mommy.'”

They say Cook followed his estranged wife to her mother’s apartment on Chalfont Drive. When he showed up at the door, Johnson, who was five-and-a-half months pregnant at the time, tried to close it on him.
He overpowered her and fired five to six shots at Johnson. Her three kids — two of them his — and her mother witnessed the violence.

“The system failed the family,” an angry Le Master said.

Johnson’s stepdad told 8News she had recently left Cook because he had been abusive. 8News has confirmed police had been called to Johnson’s Richmond home three times just this week for domestic situations.

Family and friends say Johhnson had tried to get a restraining order against Cook.

“The magistrate denied her and she died the next day,” Le Master said.

Cook had a history of violence. In 2013, Cook pleaded guilty in Henrico County to child abuse. The child was seriously injured, according to court documents. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but only served four months.

“I feel like that is a great disservice to the community,” Le Master said. “These children are going to grow up without a mother and a father now.”

Police tell 8News the magistrate denied that restraining order because the couple was married and Cook had been listed as living at Johnson’s Fairfield home. However, detectives tell us that a protective order, slightly different, was obtained and authorities were trying to serve Cook with it but they couldn’t find him.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.