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Pregnant 19-year-old shot, killed in Bradenton home invasion

MANATEE COUNTY — A pregnant 19-year-old woman was shot and killed early Sunday by gunmen who had kicked in the front door of her apartment, authorities said.

Crystal Johnson, who was nearly seven months pregnant, lived at the Desoto Village Apartments in Bradenton. Doctors delivered her baby girl, but she also died, said Dave Bristow, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

At 1:20 a.m., deputies responded to a call about a shooting at the apartment complex. When they arrived, they were told that two or three men kicked in the apartment door and began shooting, Bristow said.

Johnson was shot as she came out of her bedroom to see what was going on, detectives said. She was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital, were she was pronounced dead. Her baby was transported to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, the report said. The baby later died.

Johnson's best friend, Cassie Betancourt, told WTSP-Ch. 10 that Johnson was ready for motherhood. "She was excited. She was a new mom. All she wanted was the baby."

There were three others in the apartment when the shooting occurred, detectives said: Susan Moore, 46, Johnson's mother; Britney Johnson, 22, Crystal Johnson's sister; and Lawrence Funsch, 21, Crystal Johnson's boyfriend.

Funsch, who was armed, fired back when the men came into the home and may have hit one of them, detectives said.

Bristow said they have contacted several men who may be considered suspects. One of them, Everrick Houston, 28, was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound. He is listed in critical condition, but the wounds are not life-threatening, Bristow said.

Police are taking a "hard look" at him, Bristow said.

Public records show Houston has been arrested several times in Manatee since 2003. Most recently, he was arrested on an armed robbery charge May 8 and was released from jail two days later after posting $50,000 bail. Bristow said the crime could be drug-related.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-866-643-8477.

Information from WTSP-Ch. 10 was used in this report.

Pregnant 19-year-old shot, killed in Bradenton home invasion 07/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 13, 2009 12:37am]
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