West Hills High School Mourns Murdered Student

Photo by Kristina Davis for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Students at West Hills High School are mourning for a freshman classmate and cheerleader, Aaliyah Johnson, 14, after she and her father were allegedly shot to death. Regina Johnson, 55, was arrested under suspicious of murder and is scheduled for arraignment this Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators said the victims were killed as early as Wednesday, and the mother stayed with their bodies for days until she mentioned the deaths in a phone call to an out-of-town relative.

Aaliyah’s boyfriend, Michael Alfaro, 15, tearfully recalled how the cheerleader first caught his eye at a school football game last year.

“I thought she was cute,” he said. “I know she wouldn’t want to see me cry, but I can’t stand it.”

He said problems between her parents at times left her upset and crying. Aaliyah had told him in the past that her mother struggled with depression.

Aaliyah’s godfather, Anderson Hatfield, said Sunday that the violence was shocking.

“It’s a good family. I know Regina loved Reuben, and she loved Aaliyah. That was her only child,” said Hatfield, who flew to San Diego from his home of Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday.

“I can’t say what was going on inside,” he said.

Hatfield, who served with Reuben Johnson in the Navy, recalled being with the family for Aaliyah’s birth and watching her grow up.

“She was a fine, intelligent young lady. Very pretty, very obedient,” he said. “I’m going to really miss her, and miss him also.”

Reuben Johnson retired from the Navy in 2009 after 20 years of service and was working as a security guard. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 June 2012.

No motive for the killings has been identified.

Crisis counselors are working with West Hills High School students this week. Our condolences to the Johnson family for this heartbreaking loss.