PORT ST. JOHN, Florida — The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office says that at approximately 4:50 a.m., a neighbor living near 7245 Bright Avenue in Port St. John, Florida was awakened by the sounds of gunshots which was followed by three children knocking at his door. The neighbor opened the door and saw the three children who told the neighbor that they had been shot.
The neighbor provided a towel to one of the boys for his injuries when the mother came out of her house and called the children to come back inside her home. The children complied to their mother’s command and went back inside her house. The neighbor then heard more gunshots from inside the children’s house. The neighbor immediately called 9-1-1.
The initial responding Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene at 4:54 a.m. When deputies arrived, they found 17-year-old Pebbles Johnson laying in the front yard. Deputies extricated her from the immediate scene by driving a car up on the front yard and bringing her back to safety. After being treated by responding emergency medical personnel, Pebbles was pronounced dead at the scene according to Brevard County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Tod Goodyear.
The deputies heard three shots come from within the residence. At approximately 5:03 a.m., deputies observed an occupant with a firearm come outside the front door briefly, then went back inside into the house. Although the blinds were drawn, deputies saw what they believed to be the glow of a cigarette moving around inside the home. One final gunshot was heard by the deputies approximately fifteen minutes after they arrived at the scene.
Because deputies heard shots, they put together two SWAT entry teams. “We always take steps to protect the deputies, but once we have an active-type shooter and have victims there, at that point is why we sped up to make entry.” Goodyear said.
After the SWAT team cleared the residence, they found four more victims inside. Goodyear says they believe the shooter was the mother of the children, 33-year-old Tonya Thomas who appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The children are identified as Joel Johnson, age 12, Jazlin Johnson, 13, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Pebbles Johnson, 17.
At approximately 3 a.m., the mother had sent a text to a neighbor saying that she wanted to be cremated with her children. Unfortunately, the neighbor was not awake at the time and did not read the text until he woke which was after the shooting had occurred. Goodyear added.
Because some of the victims attended Brevard County Public Schools, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department has notified Brevard County Public Schools of the incident.
The Sheriff’s Office has notified the father of the children, who is separated from the mother and does not reside at the home, but does live in Brevard County