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Young man’s murder still unsolved as family, friends grapple with loss
Justin wilson murder upddate
Madison Allen and Johnny Wilson had been together as a couple just shy of a year when he was shot to death in a drive-by shooting. The homicide remains an open case (Photo contributed).

At the start of October Madison Allen was planning on spending her first Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Johnny Wilson, and his family. By the end of October, Allen was mourning the loss of Wilson and wondering if his killers would ever be caught.

Wilson, an 18-year-old Turlock resident, was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting on Oct. 11 in the 300 block of W. Linwood Avenue. His murder remains an active investigation at the Turlock Police Department, but detectives had very little information to go on.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on Oct. 11, the police department received a report of a shooting with two possible victims. Officers and paramedics arrived within minutes of the call and found Wilson, who had received a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. No other gunshot victim was ever located.

Witnesses said an unknown number of people drove by in a vehicle they couldn’t describe and began shooting at the three to four people who were in the front yard of the home, including Wilson.

Wilson spent most of his short life in Oakdale, where he attended school up to his junior year in high school before moving to Turlock and completing his education at Fusion Charter. It was at Oakdale Junior High School as seventh graders that Allen first “met” Wilson.

“He didn’t know who I was, but I knew who he was by seeing him around and who he had hung out with,” Allen recalled.

They developed a friendship over the summer of 2016 and had their first real date on Oct. 30, 2017, and Allen moved in with him shortly after she turned 18.

“Johnny was funny, and smart and he had a unique way with words that just made you want to be his friend,” Allen said. “He was sweet and caring about everyone. He never liked seeing any of those he cared about upset or sad. I think what drew me to him the most was that he was different and he was my best friend before we even started dating. He was there for me through a hard breakup and we became really close and eventually when it was the right time for us, we started to slowly fall in love. He was so sweet and respectful. I think the respect he had for me was what drew me to him the most.”

The couple was in near constant contact with one another, including the night Wilson was killed. In fact, it was the brief radio silence that first clued Allen in that something was amiss.

“We had FaceTimed because I was telling him to play me back on an iMessage game,” Allen recounted. “I was at a friend’s house visiting and we talked for quite some time. He had told me he was going to go hang out with his cousin, so I said okay and told him to call me later. He still was playing games with me on our messages then he stopped responding.

“I left to make food and came back to my phone being blown up by his best friend Jacob, that something was wrong and he thought Johnny might be hurt. I freaked out and asked if I should head to Turlock, and Jacob told me yes, so I was grabbing my things and about five minutes go by and I received a phone call that he’s gone — he was shot and he’s gone.

“I dropped to the floor and started screaming,” Allen said. “It felt like my heart had just physically been ripped out of my chest. I didn’t want to believe it. I got in the car and went straight home to Turlock and everyone was at his mom’s (our house). I just went in his room to our bed and laid there and cried and stared at the door all night waiting and hoping it wasn’t real, wishing he was going to walk through that door and say this was some twisted, messed-up prank.”

Sadly, Wilson would never come back home and his death has left a hole in the hearts of his family and friends.

“His passing has been extremely hard on all of us,” Allen said. “I haven’t been home much really since. I can’t bring myself to go to our room because it hurts too. It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet for me. I still have a small piece of hope in my mind he’s still here somewhere, even though deep down I know he’s not and when I finally come to that realization it’s going to hurt so much worse than it already has.

The police ask anyone with information regarding Wilson’s death to call Detective Frank Navarro at (209) 664-7319. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.