JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A celebration of life was held Sunday to remember the Navy airman killed by a falling tree branch last week as Tropical Storm Elsa moved through North Florida.
Friends and family Deshawn Johnson gathered for the service that began at 4 p.m. off of Roosevelt Boulevard. About 100 people attended, most of whom were from the Flawless Empire Auto Club of Jacksonville, a community car club that Johnson was part of.
Kameko Conner was among those who attended. She said she didn’t know Johnson, but she served in the Navy, which is why she came out.
“I said to my husband we had to come out and support the family,” Conner said. “It was not a choice. We had to come. It was mandatory. Being in the military, you don’t get a choice to go to work. You have to report.”
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, a Dodge Challenger and a Toyota SUV were driving north on Roosevelt Boulevard, just south of Yacht Club Road, in the Ortega neighborhood about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when a tree branch hanging over the road gave way and struck both vehicles. The driver of the Dodge, who was identified as Johnson, was killed, and the driver of the Toyota was not injured, police said.
Johnson was assigned to the “War Eagles” of VP-16, which flies and maintains the P-8A Poseidon aircraft, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, according to a public affairs officer for the Naval Air Force Atlantic.
His wife told News4Jax last week that Johnson was a loving father, husband, son, brother and friend.
“He was a friend to everyone,” she said. “He knew how to bring everyone together.”