Fundraiser held to help solve East Atlanta murders

Fundraiser held to help solve East Atlanta murders

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Officer Alfred Johnson (left), Patrick Cotrona were both murder victims in East Atlanta 33 years apart. Officer Alfred Johnson (left), Patrick Cotrona were both murder victims in East Atlanta 33 years apart.
ATLANTA -

Two local families of East Atlanta murder victims joined together on Friday to raise money in hopes of bringing the killers to justice.

The families of Patrick Cotrona and Alfred Johnson share a similar kind of pain – the pain of loss.

Cotrona, 33, was killed in May after being shot during an armed robbery as he walked home in East Atlanta Village.

"It's difficult. I don't want to go by his house. I don't want to see the memorial," said Kate Cotrona Crumm, Patrick's sister.

Johnson, an Atlanta Police Department officer, died in 1980 when two masked men attempted to rob an East Atlanta grocery store shot him in the stomach. Johnson died in surgery.  In the 33 years since his death, no one has come forward.

"It was a hard time for us because was just the joy of the family," said Jane Comer, Johnson's sister.

The store on Flat Shoals Road where the two crooks took Officer Johnson's life no longer exists, while a tribute marking the spot where Cotrona passed remains.

"My brother and Officer Johnson...are sort of the unsolved murder cases of East Atlanta," said Crumm.

The two families held a fundraiser at The Earl in East Atlanta on Friday to raise money for a CrimeStoppers reward that detectives hope helps solve both cases.

"It's not going to bring my brother back...to get justice, but it would definitely bring a little closure, said Crumm.

Ninety percent of the money raised during the Humble Heroes event will go to the CrimeStoppers totals of both cases.  The rest will help seriously injured police officers and firefighters.

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