Deitrick Johnson lost “two amazing” friends this year. His longtime friend and CD resident Desmond Jackson was gunned down outside a Sodo nightclub in February, and his best friend Sherry Soth was killed in a shooting at a South Seattle party in July.
He grew up surrounded by violence. His grandfather was gunned down when he was four, before his family moved to Seattle. He and his friends stayed clean—neither Jackson nor Soth had so much as a traffic ticket on their records. Yet violence still found them, leaving Johnson devastated and looking for a way to have a positive impact.
Deitrick Johnson met Desmond Jackson on the school bus in fifth grade.
Once, they hid their most-prized Pokémon cards in their socks when they sensed their elementary-school contraband was about to be confiscated. Soon after, Johnson moved to another school and the two lost touch.
Years later, when he started working at the Northgate Target, Johnson introduced himself to co-worker Sherry Soth, a “cool-looking Asian girl” sporting Air Jordans. The teens became fast friends.
When Johnson accompanied Soth to her senior prom at Ingraham High School, they bumped into Jackson. The trio, along with other friends, began hanging out together most weekends.
That ended on Feb. 12 when Jackson, 22, was gunned down outside a Sodo nightclub. Soth, 21, was fatally shot as she was leaving a South Seattle house party July 1.
Johnson has been involved in organizing two upcoming events outside the CD to help. Hoops for Hope is tomorrow (Saturday) at Seattle Pacific University, and Urbane Restaurant & Bar at 8th and Pine is donating a portion of Saturday evening’s proceeds to Soth’s family.
I know Deitrick’s younger sister, who just graduated high school and is going to be the first in her family to go straight to a four-year college – and a top ranked school across the country, nonetheless. She, and Deitrick, and the whole Johnson family, are inspirations to everyone in rising above setbacks in life and creating lasting positive change in the world.
It matters when adults from the community show respect for young people’s effort, and show up to important events they organize – especially since we tend to have so many critical things to say. Let’s give more positive attention. I hope more of us can make it to Hoops for Hope!
Thank you for sharing this news on our neighborhood’s site.
Deitrick. Thank you. Thank you for turning your pain into action – using it to make a difference. It may or may not end in the result you want. But, you did something POSITIVE about it. That is so much more than most people ever attempt. I am sorry for your losses. I wish you peace.