Mother of Pine Bluff Teen Gunned Down Speaks Out


PINE BLUFF, Ark — The mother of a Pine Bluff teenager shot and killed at a youth center is speaking out for the first time since her son’s murder.

On a poster board, sitting on a couch next to Shirley Johnson, are some of the only lasting memories of her youngest son, Jerry Pryor Jr., 18.

“That was the prom night,” said Johnson. “He worked hard. He liked basketball. He liked going to Merrill Center. He was over there all the time. He played football, he did it all.

Wednesday afternoon, Johnson got the worst call a parent could get about their child.

“I said ‘Naw, I know that couldn’t be him. I said ‘What you telling me somebody done shot him?'” said Johnson.

Police said Pryor was shot and killed by Alexis Reed, 18, during an argument in the Merrill Center parking lot.

“I’m still hurt and angry,” said Johnson.

Pryor had just celebrated his birthday last week and only had one wish.

“All he wanted was that job at Lennox,” said Johnson.

She said her son found out he had been hired at Lennox the day he was murdered and had gone to the center to tell a friend.

“He was excited that he got the job,” said Johnson.

Only to have that excitement be taken away she said at the hands of a woman her son considered a friend.

“This is ludicrous to me,” said Johnson.

She said her son was about to enter his senior year at Pine Bluff High and had one main goal after graduation.

“He said all I want to see is California,” said Johnson.

Now, she’s left with one question for the killer.

“Why did she shoot him,” said Johnson.

As she struggles to walk daily past a room once filled with the life of her youngest child.

“It hurts because I’m used to him coming home or we playing or we joking with each other,” said Johnson.

Now, she hopes someone will help find her son’s killer.

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