Attorneys discuss lawsuit after bounty hunters shoot at wrong car, kill father

Jalen Johnson (Courtesy: The Johnson family)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Attorneys held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss a civil lawsuit filed after a 24-year-old man was shot by bounty hunters.

“The civil action on behalf of Ms. Anita Jenkins will seek to hold accountable the individuals and business entities responsible for her son’s tragic, but preventable death,” said Mawuli Davis.

Jalen Johnson, also known as Jalen Johnson-Milan, died after a bounty hunter opened fired on a car he was riding in on April 23 in Clarksville.

He and a group of friends were sitting in his vehicle at a Clarksville Walmart when it happened.

“We just take it day-by-day. One day if I get through today, then I just worry about tomorrow,” his mother Anita Jenkins said.

Courtesy: The Johnson family

The civil lawsuit states seven men rushed town Johnson’s vehicle with weapons drawn and began to break the windows.

The driver, thinking it was gang members, sped away from the Walmart. The bounty hunters then gave chase, and fired several more shots, ultimately striking Johnson in the back and chest.

The seven men, who believed Johnson was a wanted fugitive, now face first-degree murder charges for his death.

“It’s been hard on us as a family. That circle has been broken, but I know with God on our side, we’ll be able to make it through,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins told News 2 she hasn’t grieved the loss of her son and said her main priority is justice for Jalen.

“It hasn’t really sunk in because I know I have to fight so right now I really haven’t had a lot of time to grieve because I got other things I got to do as far as the process of trying to take care of what needs to be taken care of,” she said. “We got to fight now the legal system to make sure they give these men the charges or some time in jail.”

The seven bounty hunters and Keesee Bonding Company and Eagle Bonding are named in the wrongful death lawsuit.

“We must hold accountable those that are involved, those responsible for this tragic and unnecessary death,” said Mawuli Davis with Davis Bozeman Law Firm in Atlanta. “So, it is our hope that we will be able to shed some light find out the truth and actually determine what happened and how it happened.”

The lawsuit also claims assault and battery, false imprisonment, and neglect.

The family is asking for a jury trial and unspecified punitive damages; the amount to be determined by a jury.

“We anticipate that this lawsuit will go to jury trial and that at that trial this family and Jalen will obtain the justice that they so richly deserve for this tragic and senseless killing,” said Harold Spence with The Spence Law Firm out of Memphis.

The victim’s step-father, Baron Jenkins, said what hurts most is Johnson’s three young children are not without a father.

Photo: WKRN

“Jalen was like the class clown, the life of the party,” the step-father said. “Everybody loved Jalen he was just a real lovable guy, and an awesome father.”

News 2 stopped by Eagle Bonding, one of the companies named in the lawsuit, but the owner wasn’t there.

News 2 did speak briefly with defendant Antwon Keesee, with Keesee Bonding Company, he told us this civil lawsuit is about nothing but money.

“I’m just trying to let the criminal case play out in court,” Kessee said. “There are two sides to every story.”

Johnson leaves behind three children. His family says he was an innocent man who died in an act of terrorizing violence.

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