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cassie J memorial2

A woman gets a closer look at the memorial set up for Charleston Patrolman Cassie Johnson on Garrison Avenue. Johnson was shot and killed while responding to a parking complaint on Garrison Avenue.

A city committee advanced a request by Charleston police officers to give Garrison Avenue the honorary name of Patrolman Cassie Johnson Avenue.

Johnson, 28, was shot on Garrison Avenue on Dec. 1 and died in the hospital two days later. Johnson grew up in Charleston’s Westmoreland neighborhood, which includes most of Garrison Avenue, and was assigned to patrol the neighborhood as a city police officer.

City council member Shannon Snodgrass submitted the request to the Municipal Planning Commission on behalf of Charleston Police Department’s D Shift, or day shift, of which Johnson was a member. The commission advanced the request unanimously last week.

Snodgrass said Charleston Police Lt. Jamey Noland called her on Dec. 3, saying members of D Shift wanted to get the process started on renaming the street for Johnson.

“Lt. Noland informed me that Patrolman Johnson not only grew up in and around Garrison Avenue, she protected this area as part of her patrol as part of D Shift,” Snodgrass said during the meeting.

Noland said officers gathered the night Johnson died, trying to settle on the proper way to honor her. They decided on the street renaming, he said, because they felt it would be the best way to honor Johnson for decades to come.

“It was unanimous across D Shift that we wanted to propose this to the city and to get this done, and we thought that this was a wonderful way to honor our fallen sister by trying to make this happen,” Noland said.

Noland said he was grateful Snodgrass filed the request. Snodgrass said she wants to see the city fulfill the request in honor of Johnson.

“Patrolman Johnson gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while being shot and ultimately killed,” she said. “By continuing her dedication and keeping Charleston safe, I respectfully ask that we initiate and give Garrison Avenue the additional honorary naming to reflect Patrolman Cassie Johnson.”

Dawn Ashworth, who lives on Garrison Avenue, said during the committee meeting she fully supported the renaming. Ashworth said she had lived on the street for nearly her entire life, and believes the move will appropriately honor Johnson for her bravery.

“Cassie watched all over Garrison Avenue … I think this would be a great reminder to everyone of Garrison Avenue that Cassie did not die in vain, and she died protecting us as she did every day,” Ashworth said.

Council member Adam Knauff, who represents the ward that includes Garrison Avenue, said various Westmoreland neighborhood groups support the renaming. He said residents have recalled seeing Johnson regularly, whether on patrol or visiting with her family.

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said during the meeting she was thrilled D Shift proposed the idea, and she fully supports the request. The request now moves to the city committee on planning, streets and traffic. If it’s advanced, it will go before the full council for a vote.

Garrison Avenue begins at Crescent Road, near the Bigley Avenue Little League Fields, where it splits through the hill on Charleston’s West Side. It stretches almost 2 miles before turning into a dirt road near the west side of Interstate 77.

The Gazette-Mail profiled Johnson’s life the week following her death, where her mother shared stories about her daughter’s childhood in the Westmoreland neighborhood. Johnson held a deep commitment to serving her home neighborhood, her mother said, and did not take the assignment lightly.

Reach Joe Severino at joe.severino@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jj_severino on Twitter.