As Kentucky police investigate the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman, the victim’s newborn baby is fighting for her life.
Geri Johnson, 29, was pronounced dead at a Corbin hospital on Saturday evening, sometime after her boyfriend brought her to the ER—and after doctors delivered her baby girl. Kentucky State Police have released few details and haven’t named any suspects in the disturbing case, which as of Monday was classified as a “death investigation.”
Baptist Health Hospital staff alerted cops to Johnson’s gunshot wound. It’s unclear how many times or where Johnson was shot, or when and where the incident took place. Her baby, named Amelia Jo, was delivered at 7 months and transported to University of Kentucky Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Lexington.
Trooper Lloyd Cochran of the Kentucky State Police declined to comment on whether Johnson’s boyfriend was involved in her death. “We’re just trying to get to the bottom of it right now,” Cochran told The Daily Beast.
An autopsy of Johnson’s body was scheduled on Sunday and the results are pending, authorities said.
According to one Lex18 report, the shooting occurred outside a home on Steele Hollow Road in rural Whitley County, and Johnson’s boyfriend drove her to the hospital.
Friends took to social media to mourn the mother-to-be, who also went by Geri Bays, and to support Johnson’s mother, Sandra, who is a nurse.
“Geri was a great person,” one family friend, Theresa Jarvis, told The Daily Beast. “If you were having a bad day, she was the type of person that could make you laugh. She was very humorous, sweet and had a good heart.”
Johnson, who had three boys from a previous marriage, was “ecstatic” about having her first baby girl, friends told The Daily Beast.
Still, life wasn’t always easy for Johnson. One friend, Codi Marie Woolever, met her at Whitley County Detention Center in 2015 and said she was “one of a kind.”
At the time, Woolever was a detention officer, and Johnson a prisoner. (A review of public records and local newspaper articles shows arrests for trafficking methamphetamine and failure to appear in court.)
“She had a smile that would brighten anyone’s day. So contagious, so beautiful,” Woolever told The Daily Beast.
“I got to know Geri on a sober level. She loved her family and her children like no other. She was a very bubbly people person. I don’t remember one person that met Geri that didn’t have something good to say about her,” Woolever added.
Woolever joined countless friends of Johnson’s family in praying for her baby, who is in critical condition.
“I don’t see what she could have done [that was] so bad for someone to kill her while she was pregnant,” Woolever said of Johnson.
Tasha Satterfield, a classmate of Johnson’s from elementary to high school, was shocked to hear of Johnson’s death. Johnson was outgoing and full of laughter, Satterfield said. “She always enjoyed life,” the friend added.
“Everybody that knew her, could never say anything bad about her.”
“She was a big part of a lot of people’s lives. When somebody was down and out and needed somebody to talk to, she was always there,” Satterfield told The Daily Beast. “She would cheer you up no matter how down you was on anything.”
Amanda Campbell-Cox said she’s known Johnson for many years and lived with her at one point. They also did jail time together and both worked on getting sober.
Responding to rumors on social media, Campbell-Cox said she doesn’t believe Johnson would hurt herself or shoot herself.
“She still had her issues but she was a great person. She was funny and she was easy to get along with,” Campbell-Cox said. “She wanted to do good, she wanted to show her mom and them that she could be a different person than what she was.”
“When we were in jail, all she talked about was her mom and her kids all the time,” Campbell-Cox said, adding, “She wanted to get back with her kids more than anything. She just wanted to be a mom again.”