East Texas fishermen cast a line for murdered angler

BROADDUS, TX (KTRE) - It was a tragedy that shocked the fishing community to its core. Professional Bass fisherman Jimmy Johnson of Gando, TX was murdered while at a fishing tournament in Jackson, MS six Sundays ago.

Authorities have since arrested and charged 17-year-old Shaun Brown with capital murder. Police say Johnson was shot and killed when he confronted someone burglarizing his boat in the Motel 6 parking lot where he and his wife were staying.

Since his death fishermen from all over have been organizing tournaments in Johnson's memory including East Texans.

"As anglers we all have to look out for each other and when one hurts, we all hurt," said Scott Burns who hosted the tournament.

And nothing hurt the fishing community more than learning that one of their own, professional Bass fisherman, Jimmy Johnson was shot and killed while fishing a tournament.

The news tangled the fishing line that connects all fishermen and since the brutal murder more than six weeks ago, men, women and children who love fishing have cast a line for Jimmy.

"I guess if we have to tell Mr. Johnson's story I think this is a great way to tell it," said Burns.

Burns and president of the Nacogdoches Bass Club, Ron Jones hosted the "Jimmy Johnson Memorial Championship" this weekend on Sam Rayburn.

"It turned out to be exactly what we hoped it would you know just a fellowship of anglers coming out and just fishing for the cause," said Burns.

"It's nice to know that anglers care enough to do this," said Jones. "We compete fiercely and we rag on each other but at the end of the day we support each other.

Neither Burns nor Jones knew Johnson personally but he was an angler and thus part of the family.

Burns said he hopes their efforts will show the Johnson family how much they care, "Well I hope if anything they know that they're not alone in this. There is a lot of us out there that know and feel what they're going through and that's why we did this. We want them to know that their support is not just local. It's worldwide."

The tournament was put together in just 3 weeks but in that short amount of time boat and industry sponsors stepped up to show their support.

Owner of Legend Boats, Randy Qualls knew Johnson said spoke about him at the tournament, "It was my pleasure about 10 years ago to meet Jimmy. He won a honey-hole tournament here at Sam Rayburn and I awarded him a 21 foot bass boat and that was the start of my knowing. He was a great gentleman. Had my pleasure to go to dinner with him and visit with him on numerous occasions. It was a great loss for us."

In the end, 31 boats hit the water and the fishermen raised more than $4,000 for the Johnson family.

Police say Brown reportedly confessed to the brutal killing but at his preliminary court hearing on November 4th, Brown told reporters that he was not at the motel.

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