Marine Officer Killed Tailgating at NC State

Two killed while tailgating before NC State game (ESPN)

Two brothers were arrested in the shooting deaths of two young men at a tailgate party before a college football game, authorities said. Witnesses said a fistfight preceded the shootings Saturday evening. The victims, identified as Kevin M. McCann, 23, of Chicago, and Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Johnson Harman, 23, of Park Ridge, Ill., were tailgating before North Carolina State University’s season-opening football game against Richmond. Neither was a student at the university.

Tony Harrell Johnson, 20, of Raleigh, and his brother, Timothy Wayne Johnson, 22, an NCSU student, were arrested a short time later and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, said sheriff’s department spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens. A first appearance hearing for Timothy Johnson was scheduled for Tuesday, Stephens said. Information about Tony Johnson’s first hearing was not immediately available.
Because of the Labor Day holiday, their earliest court date would be Tuesday.

A witness, Brian Smith, 31, said the victims had been tossing a football when a car drove recklessly in a parking lot packed with football fans. He said the men pulled the blond-haired driver from his car and beat him, pushing his head into the dirt. The blond man left in his car, shouting curses and threatening revenge, Smith said. He returned later and asked Smith where to find the men who had beaten him, saying he had “a .38 Smith & Wesson for them.” Smith, who said the man appeared intoxicated, pointed in the direction of the victims and heard gunshots a short time later. Smith ran to the shooting scene and found one victim wounded in the face, the other in the upper torso. “My reaction is that I got two guys killed,” Smith said.

Yes, pointing out people to angry drunks seeking revenge is probably not a good idea.

FILED UNDER: Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Fatal Shooting at N.C. State tailgate
    Raleigh police are looking for two suspects in a shooting that ocurred at a tailgate party near Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon. One victim was shot in the head and the other in the neck. UPDATE: Reports now indicate both victims died. James J…

  2. Jeff says:

    Anecdotally, I’ve heard a lot of stuff about N.C. State fan behavior from people who went to games there as fans of the opposing team. The only ACC schools I really hear much bad about gameday experience visiting are NCSU and Maryland.

    I’ve been to Maryland once for a Clemson game but it was back in 1992 before all the renovations at Byrd and before Maryland returned to prominence in football. There weren’t many problems then but I’ve heard much worse about College Park than Raleigh until this incident.

    These two schools probably still pale in comparison to Baton Rouge or Athens (UGA) on a Saturday night after the imbibing has taken place all day – of course problems increase most places for night games because the fans have all day to drink.

  3. Mark Hasty says:

    Wow. This is an old ethics-class debate writ large.

  4. Boyd says:

    What were you thinkin’?

  5. Bill Pearson says:

    I went to EVERY NCSU-ECU football game held in Raleigh-NC from 1970-1987 (no home games for ECU) … They quickly developed into an intense interstate rivaly and were usually the first game of the season for both teams … They were also night-time games which cleraly allowed (promoted) ALL-DAY-LONG tailgaiting and partying … While the final game of that series had an end-of-the-game ECU victory celebration that resulted in an un-controlled crowd behavior situation, the overall series was one of great local interest, super crowd-appeal and a huge success to both schools — certainly w/o any shootings and unfortunate killings as seen at this year’s (2004) NCSU openning game with Richmond … So, my 2-cents is to partially dismiss this as an isolated (Forest Gump – Shit Happens) event, yet also send a clear message to University personnel to do what they can to cover the potential for such random – reckless- irresponsible (red-neck) crowd behavior as occured at NCSU!

  6. La Femme Crickita says:

    who cares about the rivalry? Two men are dead because of some drunk perp and a twit accomplice.

  7. Mike Johnson says:

    I’m from Chicago and I happened to be a very close friend of one of the victims and I will say this; That kid driving recklessly through that lot must have done or said something pretty stupid for them to supposidly “pull him out of the car and beat him” like that. This was a horrific story about two class act act guys who were minding their own business and a drunken fool who couldn’t take a deserved beating like a man. He was a coward who couldn’t handle getting beat down for acting and driving recklessly endangering peoples livelyhood, so he had to go home and get his heat. What a tough guy. Thats a real low life, along with his brother who apparently was missing a few brain cells of his own. He supposidly was the shooter. I hope to God they both get life in prison to give them time to think about what they’ve done to a couple of guys who were just trying to have some good clean old fashion fun. If I had a shot at those punks who killed my friends…….I’ll leave it at that.

  8. Mike Johnson says:

    I’m from Chicago and I happened to be a very close friend of one of the victims and I will say this; That kid driving recklessly through that lot must have done or said something pretty stupid for them to supposidly “pull him out of the car and beat him” like that. This was a horrific story about two class act act guys who were minding their own business and a drunken fool who couldn’t take a deserved beating like a man. He was a coward who couldn’t handle getting beat down for acting and driving recklessly endangering peoples livelyhood, so he had to go home and get his heat. What a tough guy. Thats a real low life, along with his brother who apparently was missing a few brain cells of his own. He supposidly was the shooter. I hope to God they both get life in prison to give them time to think about what they’ve done to a couple of guys who were just trying to have some good clean old fashion fun. If I had a shot at those punks who killed my friends…….I’ll leave it at that.

  9. 2 friends says:

    This has absolutely nothing to do with rivalry….two great men are dead because of some drunk red-neck coward….Brett was about to go to Iraq to protect our country and all you can say is “shit happens” nice.

  10. unknown says:

    It takes an incident like this to make you reallze you have to watch what you say and do in a public place. Two innocent men were trying to let the Johnson brothers know they were going too fast and they did not feel comfortable and they wound up dead. It is terrible that two 23 year old men were shot and killed while passing a comment about speeding. It is also sad to see how two potentially successful 20 and 22 year old, the Johnson Brothers, have thrown their life away and committed first degree murder because they could not be mature and admit their mistake of reckless driving. Their father stated that the boys feel terrible about what they did and they did not mean for anyone to get hurt. All I have to say to that is it is a load of crock. Both the boys being 20 and 22 knew damn well that if they shot a gun at someone it would hurt them! They intentionally shot someone and their dad should see them for the vendictive creeps and low-lifes they are. They committed two counts of first degree murder as well as fled from the seen and ran from the cops. they deserve the hoghest amount of punishment NC alots for 1st degree murder. They are not too young to recieve the death penalty and i think for once an example should be made and they should be punished to the harshest extent. As for the girl who was charged with aiding the runaway of her so called wonderful boyfriend, she should be charged as well, with aiding a criminal act. She was in the car with him after the shooting occured and you mean to tell me she so call claims she knew nothing about it. Hello, she helped him get a hotel room and it was all over the radio and news right after it happened. She had to have known soemthing, she deserves to be punished as well. jail time would teach her not to help her phsyco boyfriends try and run from committing a first -degree murder. What goes around comes around and I strongly believe the Johnson brothers will get what they deserve and so will anyone else who committs such a terrible, deviant act against another living being!!

  11. another friend says:

    There aren’t words enough to describe how great Brett was. And those two men make me type “was” instead of “is.” I didn’t know Kevin, but Brett was a fantastic guy and evey friend I’ve met of his was equally quality. He was a gentleman, a sweet and caring person with all of the potential in the world. And unlike the two individuals who are sitting in a NC jail, he was living up to his potential. We need to be angry and see that justice punishes them, but we also need to celebrate the lives of Brett and Kevin. They touched a lot of lives, and I am eternally grateful that Brett was a part of mine.

  12. friend from high school says:

    This is a tragedy, Brett was one of a kind. I have known him for a good 12 years of my life, since grade school and it is truly a loss. He was an officer and a gentleman. Best attitude a guy could have. Gave it all he had plus more to succeed and his 23 great years definetly shows it. He definitly made you you laugh. It is very unfortunate that we will not be able to find out what could have been. I guess there is a purpose for all of us. It really makes you think. He was just having a good time and stuck up for his friend and it cost him his life.
    -J
    Those two deserve what they get whether it be life or death. Let the courts decide. I think it is a pretty easy case to get a verdict from. It will only be a matter of time.

  13. Unknown says:

    Well I know Tony and Tim, grew up with them. They were both very smart guys who had a bright future. I am still in shock about the shooting and what happened. Them Yankee boys must have done something pretty bad for Tim and Tony to come back and shoot them(by accident or on purpose). I dont understand what gave them two boys the right to drag Tony out of his own car and give him a beating that ended him up having 30 some stiches?! Who gave them the right to do that? Just because he was speeding in a parking lot, please tell me who hasn’t done that before. I think Alc played a big part in this. As far as Ashley, Rachel and the other girl they are getting ready to get go, they may have no known. I didn’t hear about the shooting till the next day. I am not saying what Tim & Tony did is justifed in any way because it’s not and never will be but you have to remember these other two boys took it into there own hands to beat this younger and smaller boy because he was speeding! I hope Justice will be served in this case!

  14. Unknown says:

    I also grew up with the Johnson brothers, and this was a shock for everyone that knew them. What they did was wrong, but no one really knows what happened, there are like 3 different stories. There family had nothing to do with it, so what you said is a “crock of shit”. Their mom and dad were good christian people, and no fingers should be pointed at them. I find it hard to believe those Jersey boys did nothing to provoke the Johnson’s, however shooting them was morally wrong and it is a very tragic event. Both families are hurting, but who’s fault was it really?? Who is really telling the truth about what happened? I guess we don’t know, unless you were there and witnessed the entire incident, no one has any room to point fingers!

  15. ACC fan says:

    NOTHING justifies killing someone in cold blood. This is a horrible day for State

  16. John Del Marto says:

    To the people who post “Unknown” and try to make a bold statement without putting their name behind it and then say you grew up with the Johnsons and speak of how great they were, I call you a piece of shi*. You have got to be kidden me!! Look at your higher education working for itself, “Them Yankee boys”.. How about you speak proper English son!! First off, let me tell you a thing about “Them Yankee boys”, that group of friends that they hung out with, and this Marine. I personally never knew them but did attend quite a few parties in the city of Chicago that these gentlemen also went to. This group of peoples at these parties were more stand-up than any piece of absolute shi* I have ever met the past three years of being stationed here in North Carolina. You should pray that your friends do not get off for what they did. I can gurantee that whatever the courts plan on doing to them will be belittled by these guys friends. These guys, Brett and Kevin, that did whatever they did to your beloved Johnson boys was absolutely acceptable, whether it called for them to get their a$$’s dragged out of the car and beat or not… People drink, get into fights, and call it a day. I witnessed it time and again at these parties in Chicago. Be a fuc*ing man get some friends, come back, and brawl it out.. You sit here and speak of how bad it must have been for them to have to come back and shoot them or how morally wrong it was?!??!? Are you kidding me? Fuc* your ethics class and fuc* you! That’s the problem with you inbred pieces of shi*. You think it’s socially acceptable to own a gun and don’t really see the seriousness and the tragedy of this… Two MEN are never coming back because two weak minded cowards decided they weren’t man enough to fight with their fists… And now these other two individuals, the Johnsons, who I refuse to call men are what is it you said?? Oh, here it is if you forgot, “They were both very smart guys who had a bright future.” Smart guys??!?! Far from smart you dumb redneck! A bright future?? I can’t imagine… You know who was smart and did have a bright future that would have made a difference.. Kevin McCann and Brett Harmon.. A college graduate with a soon to be successful job and a United States Marine who I am proud to call my brother.

    Signed,
    John Del Marto
    Corporal, USMC

  17. John Del Marto says:

    In regards to the post above I think that these two characters should be put to death by the State of North Carolina.

  18. In total awe says:

    I think that what the Johnson’s did was completely and utterly horrible. It does not get much worse than that, taking someone else’s life over an argument. Although I did not know the two men that were killed, I do know someone at the U.S. Naval Academy that went to school with Mr. Harman. I know the quality of character that it takes to get into and graduate from the Academy. Therefore, I would have to think that if they did pull one of the Johnson’s from their car, it was more than deserved.

  19. Case Kegley says:

    I agree completely with Corporal Del Marto. These two “individuals,” the Johnson BOYS, supposedly were smart guys with a bright future? There is no way a smart person can take an A$$ kicking and then retreat home to get a .38 and use it to kill another in cold-blood. That right there is ignorance. I was jumped last year down on Ohio State’s campus, took a hell of a beating, but what I did was go back and pick up some buddies and come back deliver the reciprical beating…Not once did it ever cross my mind to go get a gun. It’s sad to know that two young men, who I do not even know, had to lose their lives, which sounds like had great promise, for handing out a beating they dilevered with their fists. So here’s my statement to the Johnson BOYS: You two are PU$$IES, who obviously are too scared to take up for yourselves with what God gave you, and resort to man-made weapons…I hope you are sitting in jail $hitting your pants…because when you get to prison, you will run into to some BAD BOYS…and you better be ready to your $hit pushed it for the rest of your lives. Because that “bright future” which supposedly was to lie ahead of you, is now going to consist of your Redneck a$$ getting handled by inmates to be names later…R.I.P. Brett & Kevin and rot in he|| Johnson brothers.

  20. saddened says:

    I know witnesses that saw Brett and Kevin HELP the Johnson brothers out when people pulled them out of their car. Then the boys came back an hour later and broke a bottle and lunged toward Kevin. Brett tried to help Kevin and got shot. They then turned and shot Kev in the face.
    I hope they get put to death.