Washington

Puyallup shooting victim remembered as ‘a friend to everyone’

Dale Andersen, right, and her daughter, Megan Andersen, walk away after leaving a clutch of roses at the place where their neighbor, Richard Johnson, was shot to death in Puyallup on Tuesday. “He was a friend to everyone,” Dale Andersen said of Johnson.
Dale Andersen, right, and her daughter, Megan Andersen, walk away after leaving a clutch of roses at the place where their neighbor, Richard Johnson, was shot to death in Puyallup on Tuesday. “He was a friend to everyone,” Dale Andersen said of Johnson. Staff writer

Richard Johnson was the kind of guy who’d give you a call if he saw you’d left your garage door open as night began to fall.

The Puyallup man also was quick with a joke or to compliment your baby.

“He was a friend to everyone,” Johnson’s neighbor, Dale Andersen, said Wednesday.

The 71-year-old Johnson, a retiree who owned several rental houses, died Tuesday in a shooting rampage that left his neighbors stunned and saddened. He left behind his wife of 50 years, two children and three grandchildren, authorities said.

Police said Johnson was working on a rental house he owned in the 500 block of 14th Street Southwest when he confronted a man he saw near his truck.

That 34-year-old man pulled a gun and opened fire, police said, killing Johnson, who’d lived on the southwest side of Puyallup for decades.

Johnson’s family has asked for privacy.

His neighbors described him as an avuncular, hardworking and generous man who looked out for them.

“We called him our one-man neighborhood watch,” said Maegan Hess, who lives across the street from the house where Johnson was killed.

Hess said Johnson often complimented her on her baby daughter, Pearl.

“He was just the nicest guy ever,” she said.

Richard Freudenberg lives just down the street from the house Johnson shared with his wife. He said his friend owned several rental homes in the neighborhood and worked on them tirelessly, including on the one where he was killed.

“He’s been working on that house for 10 years or more,” Freudenberg said. “He’d work on that house from sunup to sundown.”

Johnson would take a break to chat or check up on people who lived nearby, Freudenberg added.

“He was a helluva good neighbor,” he said.

On Wednesday, Andersen placed a clutch of roses from her garden alongside other bouquets left at the house where Johnson died.

“We watched him work so hard on this house, and he’s never going to see it finished,” she said through tears. “This isn’t the way it was supposed to end.”

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