News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013
SWAINSBORO, Ga. -- "We don't feel like this gentleman lived a lifestyle that this would be expected by family or by us in law enforcement," Chief Randy Ellison said.
Disbelief from the chief himself as the city of Swainsboro tries to solve a mystery.
"We all called him 'Shot.' He was pretty much the protector of the family," brother Daniel Johnson said.
Fifty-six-year-old Nathaniel Johnson -- or "Shot" as his 17 brothers and sisters would say-- became a victim of his own nickname when police say they found him shot to death in his backyard.
"We did in fact find Mr. Johnson's body laying at the back doorstep of the residence. He died as a direct result of multiple gunshot wounds," Ellison explained.
"That's all they can tell us is that there was a tussle, and he was shot in the head and his keys were in the door," Johnson said.
An unlikely ending for a man police say was well respected in the community.
"He's a disabled veteran, lived his life very humbly, didn't make a lot of enemies from what I've gathered, so this is kind of a shock for this community, for this family," Ellison said.
His family says it's just unfair.
"He did all those tours across seas and didn't lose his life in the military and then come home and lose your life," Johnson said.
"My dad didn't deserve this," daughter Latasha Johnson said.
"He's gonna be missed," brother David Johnson said quietly.
Without a chance to say goodbye, they're asking for one thing.
"If anyone knows anything about it, please call the police department, the GBI," Johnson said.
"So we can have closure, so we can feel better, so we can sleep better at night, you know, his family," Latasha pleaded.
"We're really early in this investigation, but I feel confident that we're going to be able to solve this and bring some closure for this family," Ellison said.
Police say the shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Ellison says they'll continue working throughout the night to find the shooter.
They've called in GBI to help with the investigation.
So far, they don't have a motive or any suspects.
His family saw him earlier in the day, and a friend was checking on him at 2:30 in the morning when they found his body, but officials say it's just a matter of time before they figure out who did it and why.