Family of Cotton Valley shooting victim speaks about his last heroic act


COTTON VALLEY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The small town of Cotton Valley is shaken after a horrific situation unfolds Saturday night.

Law enforcement said a fight between a man and woman at a nightclub led to a shoot-out that killed two people and injured three others.

The family of the young man who broke up the fight and died as a result shares their reaction.

The grandmother and aunt of Vantrez Johnson said they were shocked when they found out what happened, but it sounds like the kind of man he was, always trying to help people.

“Why did this senseless gun violence have to happen in my hometown, in our hometown, and to our loved one? I mean it’s just sad. I know it happens to everybody but you never think it’s going to happen to your loved one,” said LaShonda Douglas, Vantrez’s aunt.

They’re family is grieving his loss of a young life taken too soon.

“Devastated. I didn’t know what to think, just lost for words. Lost for words… it really hasn’t hit me yet,” said Shirley Douglas, Vantrez’s grandmother.

The Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office said Vantrez Johnson stepped in to break up a fight between a man and woman at a club called The Vibe in Cotton Valley. He was shot and killed by the man, 22-year-old Mikel Strictkland, who also shot two bystanders outside. One of them was 19-year-old LaJasmine Jackson who died as a result.

Vantrez’s family said he was always willing to help those in need.

“He never met a stranger and he always wanted to keep the peace between people,” LaShonda said.

They said the last time they all got to spend together was for Thanksgiving.

“We had a good time that day, he laughed and joked and as he did always bother his mom all day while she was cooking, he bothered her all day,” LaShonda said as she reflected on her last memory with Vantrez.

She said he’ll be greatly missed but leaves behind an important legacy going out a hero.

“I guess that was God’s plan for him, for him to show us how to love people that you never knew or cared for because that’s what he did,” LaShonda said.

The family is still determining funeral arrangements but said they plan to have a service for Vantrez next Saturday.

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