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Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Fallen officer's family gives back by organizing 5K run

By Keith McCord | Posted - Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 10:29pm


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DRAPER — Family members remembered a Draper police sergeant killed in the line of duty by giving back Saturday to the very organization that helped them during a time of need.

Sgt. Derek Johnson died Sept. 1, after he was allegedly shot by the driver of a vehicle that was parked in an unusual position at 132 South Fort Street.

Police reports indicate Sgt. Johnson was approaching the vehicle when the driver, Timothy Troy Walker, opened fire.

Derek Johnson crashed his police vehicle as he attempted to drive away and had to be extricated from the wreckage. He was transported to a hospital but later from his gunshot wounds.

Saturday morning, runners traveled through a 5K route, that by 132 South Fort Street.

"This was the spot where he came to rest," said Draper police officer Michael Street, gesturing toward a spot at the side of the road. "And every time I drive by here, I can feel his presence."

The 5K was organized by Derek Johnson's family as a way to remember Derek.

"I think a lot of people have got to know the type of person Derek was," said Randy Johnson, Derek Johnson's father, "the love that he had for life, the sparkle in his eyes, the little mischievous look that he had. And that's what I'd want them to remember, is what a fun-loving person he was."

The run was also a way for the Johnson family to give back to the organization that helped them when they needed it most. Proceeds from the event benefited the Utah 1033 Foundation, which provides immediate financial support to the families of fallen Utah officers

Derek Johnson's is the third family the 1033 Foundation has helped since it was established in 2011.

"They were there (within) hours," said Dayson Johnson, Derek Johnson's brother. "They helped us with so much. They've been with our family; and the fact that they were there to give Shante [Derek's wife] a $25,000 check, it meant a lot to us."

"It's such a great cause," said Michelle Buonomo, a cousin to Derek Johnson. "If we could help pay it forward and do anything we can, then we'll do it."

The Johnson family anticipates making this memorial run an annual event.

For more information about The Utah 1033 Foundation, visit utah1033.org.

Contributing: Jordan Ormond

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