Soon-to-be father gunned down going to barbershop

CHARLOTTE — Three people have been arrested and charged after a 21-year-old man was shot and killed in a west Charlotte shopping center.

The shooting happened on Feb. 14 at the Little Rock Road Shopping Plaza on Little Rock Road at Tuckaseegee Road. Family members said Natajah “Taj” Johnson was going to get a haircut when he was shot and killed.


Johnson’s family said he worked at Spare Time Bowling in Huntersville but had dreams of becoming a rapper. They said the big focus of his life in recent months was preparing to become a father for the first time.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Friday they arrested three suspects in the case. On Friday, officers found and arrested 21-year-old Khalil Lateef Bass, 22-year-old Romain Venable, Jr., and 23-year-old Akilah Theresa Parham.

‘Meant the world to us’

Johnson’s family and friends gathered after news of the arrests.

They held a candlelight vigil near his southwest Charlotte home.

Channel 9 spoke with relatives, who didn’t want to share their names.

“We thank CMPD for making a quick arrest because it was quick,” said Johnson’s aunt.

“Taj really meant the world to us,” Johnson’s cousin told Channel 9. “Like I say all the time, he was all our baby, and you took that from us, so you deserve to sit there for life and think about what you did.”

Johnson was going to be a father to a baby girl.

Family members said the love that they will give his daughter is what gives them strength to carry on.

“That is the only comfort that we have right now,” the aunt said.

“We still got a part of him,” his cousin said. “That’s the good thing.”

The crime

On the day of the shooting, Bass and Vulnable fired their guns into a 2014 Nissan Sentra at the shopping center, occupied by Johnson, according to arrest warrants.

Bass had a rifle and Vulnable had a pistol, police said.

Parham is accused of helping her boyfriend, Venable, try to get away with murder by filing a false police report that her vehicle was stolen when the crime was committed. However, police said Venable used her vehicle in the deadly shooting, the arrest warrants stated.

Bass and Venable were charged with murder and discharging a weapon into occupied property. Parham was charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and filing a false police report.

All three were taken taken to the Mecklenburg County jail.

(WATCH BELOW: Man killed in shooting at west Charlotte shopping center, CMPD says)