Indianapolis mother helps the homeless on Thanksgiving to ease pain of son’s murder


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis mother channels her grief into helping others during the holiday season.

Four years ago on Thanksgiving, Keesha Johnson learned her oldest son had been murdered.

With a trunk full of supplies this week, Keesha handed out bags of snacks and fleece to help the homeless stay warm.

“Doing something for somebody just makes me feel better,” said Johnson.

Running a nonprofit called For Evans Sake, Keesha gathered up enough blankets and thermal socks to assist dozens of homeless people this week and she plans to do the same next weekend.

“Actually getting out and doing something positive and helping people helps me feel like I’m doing something good versus being in a funk,” said Johnson.

Keesha’s good deeds come four years after she got the worst news of her life — that her 20-year-old son Evans Johnson had been shot to death in an alley off Oxford.

Family provided photo of Evans Johnson.

“It’s hard. That’s all I can say. There hasn’t been an easy day since it happened to me,” said Johnson.

The night before Thanksgiving in 2016, a woman crashed her car near 25th and Adams after being shot while just a few blocks away Johnson’s body was found dead in an alley.

Detectives believe the deaths of Johnson and his 21-year-old girlfriend Jessica Downey were connected, but whoever killed the pair has never been caught.

“It’s been hell. It has been living hell daily. Every day is something different. It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” said Johnson.

Video released by IMPD showed two suspects run away from the scene of the shooting. While the case remains unsolved, Keesha will continue to find productive ways to cope with the pain of losing her son.

“I’m just keeping his name alive and doing something positive,” said Johnson.

Keesha plans to offer a second round of help December 5th. That is the anniversary of her son’s funeral.

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