She is begging for Rebekah Johnson to surrender in shooting of commune leader
“Becky, dear, we love you dearly and are anxious for your safety,” is the message that Margaret Johnson of Virginia hopes will reach her fugitive daughter — wanted by police since Memorial Day, when she allegedly shot and wounded Ganas commune leader Jeff Gross.
Mrs. Johnson phoned an Advance reporter yesterday and asked that the newspaper relay her plea.
“The police have you labeled as armed and dangerous, and if they find you, could very well hurt you badly. Please do what you know is right. Go to the police peacefully. Get rid of the gun.
“We believe you and support you, but to accomplish anything we must do it lawfully.”
Mrs. Johnson — who wouldn’t say where in Virginia she was calling from, and who declined to divulge any information about the rest of the family — was emphatic in stating that she has had no contact with Rebekah, 43, since Thanksgiving.
Even then, she says, her daughter never so much as hinted that things had gone so wrong that she was planning to shoot Gross. Rebekah Johnson was twice evicted from the New Brighton commune and waged a campaign of harassment against Gross.
“She doesn’t let on at all,” Mrs. Johnson explained. “Becky is a very private person.”
Now, Mrs. Johnson said worriedly, “It sounds like she doesn’t want to give up.”
Since the shooting in front of Ganas’ compound on May 29, police have responded to numerous calls from people who claimed they spotted Ms. Johnson on the street.
Following a segment spotlighting Ms. Johnson on “America’s Most Wanted” last Saturday, dozens of tips filled up phone lines minutes after the show aired.
The latest “sighting” occurred earlier this week at the fugitive’s former New Brighton apartment on Jersey Street. But unlike 10 previous sightings that resulted in confirmed mistaken identities, cops found no one near the apartment when they showed up on Tuesday.
There was, however, a report of a surveillance video of a woman who matched Ms. Johnson’s description taken from cameras inside and outside the housing complex.
Yesterday, a police source said no tape has been shot of Ms. Johnson and there are no new leads as to her whereabouts.
Mrs. Johnson is begging her daughter to turn herself in before she gets hurt.
“Come peacefully. Throw away the gun,” Mrs. Johnson said.
“We love her,” the mother added. “She’s so special.”