Westside shooting victim's headstone vandalized, suspect sought

Elliott's Connection to Vandalized Gravestone
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Oct. 26 Update: Stephanie Johnson's headstone has been temporarily fixed until a new one can be bought.

It has been glued back together and reset on the pedestal.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot is leading the fundraising efforts for a new headstone.

So far they have raised more than $1,600.

The Jonesboro Police Department is investigating the vandalism of a headstone belonging to one of the victims of the Westside school shooting.

According to Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott, someone kicked over the headstone belonging to Stephanie Johnson, who was 12 years old when she was killed in 1998.

Elliott said he received a phone call at about 7 a.m. Thursday and he personally responded to the scene. He said the headstone is located at Keller's Chapel Cemetery off Kellers Chapel Road.

Chief Elliott said he was very upset about this particular case because he remembers being the first one to the scene of the shooting.

"I was one of the ones that carried her off of school grounds to the van and she just come and thank me and said 'I want to thank you for taking care of my daughter,'" said Elliott speaking of the conversation he had with Johnson's mother.

Elliott said he is in disbelief that someone would commit such a crime.

"It's just one of these incidents that have stayed with me since 1998 and for someone to come along and do something like this to this child's headstone, it bothers me," Elliot said.

Elliott said the black granite headstone, with engraving on both sides, broke into two pieces when it struck the ground. The headstone will cost approximately $3,000 to replace.

Now, Elliott wants the community to step in to help the family with expenses.

"If there is something that we as a community can do to raise funds to replace this headstone for the child and her family then that will be my next step," Elliott said. "I am going to do what I can to see that this child's headstone gets repaired or replaced and back up for her memory."

If you know anything about this case, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 935-STOP.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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