Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Student killed at apartment complex near campus


UA graduate student James Harry Johnson III (Trey), was shot around 2 a.m. Sunday at the Sterling Crimson apartment complex on 17th Street, and was pronounced dead at Druid City Hospital shortly after, according to a Tuscaloosa News article.

Johnson, 25, may have been struck by a stray bullet from gunfire at the nearby gas station Powell Petroleum, the article stated.

Johnson was reportedly visiting a friend who lives on the south side of the complex, which is located across from Central High School. Investigators are still looking into the events that transpired prior to Johnson’s death.

“We came in Saturday night about 2:30 a.m., and cops, ambulances and fire trucks were everywhere,” said Lauren Killen, a junior who lives at Sterling Crimson. “None of the police would tell us what was going on, and they just kept trying to get everyone to go inside.”

The next morning, Killen, who lives in building No. 3, said the only information residents received about the shooting was a note taped to their doors by Sterling Crimson.

“Tuscaloosa Police and our Courtesy Officers have been made fully aware of the situation and are diligently working to determine who was involved and where this incident took place,” the note read.

The note included other instructions about resident safety, such as locking doors and windows and not walking alone at night. It also reminded residents of the complex’s rules regulating firearms and weapons, threatening eviction upon any such violation of the lease agreement.

“Unfortunately, crime appears to be a fact of life,” the note later read. “Please understand that we at Sterling Crimson take crime very seriously and will try to do all we can to aid in preventing crime; however, we cannot prevent crime from happening.”

Besides the aforementioned note attached to residents’ doors, Killen said the apartment complex did nothing else to reassure residents of their safety.

“None of the staff came by or anything to check and see if we were OK,” she said. “This really traumatizing event happened, I mean someone was murdered, and the apartment complex just let it go.”

Killen said the shooting shocked her, because Sterling Crimson is only a block away from campus, and the apartment complex promised residents heightened security features.

“Our rent at Sterling Crimson is on the higher side, and they said that was because we supposedly have a really good security system, but the gate is so low anyone can climb over, and basically anyone can just walk in,” she said. “It’s weird and unsettling because you wouldn’t think anything like that would happen in the community where you live. It makes you feel less safe, you know?”

Other UA students expressed frustration and fear with the security at the apartment complex.

“I want to get out of my lease because the security here is terrible,” said Nicole Allums, a sophomore majoring in accounting. “That was the number one thing Sterling promoted when I signed my lease. They are not making residents secure at all. If this has already happened in one month I can’t imagine what is in store for later this year. I’m terrified.”

Rebecca Howe, a junior majoring in human development and family studies, said her parents are requesting lights and security cameras be added to the complex.

“I’m asking a lawyer to review my lease agreement to see if I can get out of the lease agreement,” she said. “If I can get out of the lease, sayonara.”

Taylor Holland, Katherine Martin and Drew Hoover contributed to this report.

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