Valdosta teen's murder hits youth center hard -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta teen's murder hits youth center hard

Kevin Johnson (Source: Valdosta Police Department) Kevin Johnson (Source: Valdosta Police Department)
Rachel Bradley Rachel Bradley

The executive director of the Southside Recreation Center in Valdosta said Monday she was saddened by the weekend murder of a teen that frequented the center. But, the loss of the teen's life itself was not the only reason she was saddened.

Blood was still on the pavement in the 100 block of Kinchen Lane Sunday, marking the spot where 17 year old Valdosta High School student Solomon Lee was found shot multiple times around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Police said the murder was the result of an argument at the Southside Recreation Center across the street. The center's executive director, Rachel Bradley, said for the past 19 years she had held various programs at the center for kids in the community to try to prevent something like this, but the fact that it still happened only compounded her sadness.

"It just saddens me deeply to know that in spite of those things that we still have kids dying; kids with potential, kids whose lives have never even started," said Bradley.

Around 7 a.m. Sunday, 16 year old Kevin D. Johnson was arrested and charged with the murder.

For about ten years during her time working at the center, Bradley said the center had a program to help some of the kids most at risk for getting involved with drugs or violence, but the program was discontinued in 2013 because of funding. She believed it may have been able to help save Lee's life.

"We served about a hundred and fifty kids a year and the program was very successful," Bradley pointed out. "We saved a lot of kids."

Johnson was being charged as an adult and was being held in a regional youth detention center Monday.

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