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Victim: Man shot by cops was not the man who shot me

The bullet that lodged near Damon Johnson's heart isn't what kept him awake in his hospital bed last week, and it wasn't his broken ribs, collapsed lung, or fractured shoulder that had him worried.

The bullet that lodged near Damon Johnson's heart isn't what kept him awake in his hospital bed last week, and it wasn't his broken ribs, collapsed lung, or fractured shoulder that had him worried.

As Johnson, 44, lay at Temple University Hospital, his mind focused on just one thing: clearing his dead friend's name.

Police fatally shot Johnson's friend, Darryl Chisholm, Nov. 7 in North Philadelphia, just two hours after Johnson himself was shot while washing cars on his block.

In a news release about Chisholm's shooting, police said they were called to the 3100 block of North Darien Street because they had received information that Johnson's shooter was there.

A police supervisor on the scene of Chisholm's shooting said Johnson told police where his shooter could be found, but Johnson said he never identified the gunman because he didn't see who shot him.

"I was mind-baffled when I heard what they were saying," Johnson said.

One thing Johnson said he does know is that Chisholm, a lifelong friend, was not the man who shot him.

"I don't want to get in trouble for this, but a very close friend of mine lost his life. Do I be quiet or be a grown man and speak up?" Johnson said. "I hope this is the right thing. Even if something happens to me, I just want his name to be cleared."

Lt. John Stanford, police spokesman, said officers tried to stop Chisholm because he fit the description of the gunman they were looking for in Johnson's shooting, but Chisholm has since been ruled out as a suspect.

"They are still actively investigating that shooting and actively looking for the person responsible for that because it does not appear he was the person," he said.

Stanford stressed that officers shot Chisholm not because he might have been a suspect in Johnson's shooting, but because he allegedly pointed a gun at officers who tried to stop him.

"The smallest part of it is that he may have been involved in the other shooting. It doesn't really matter if he did the earlier incident or not," Stanford said. "He still had two firearms on him and pointed at least one at police officers."

Johnson, a father of seven, said he was trying to make some extra cash by washing cars on the 700 block of Clearfield Street when he heard a gunshot around 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 and realized he had been shot in the back.

As he lay at Temple recovering, Johnson learned from his family and news reports that his friend, Chisholm, had been shot by police and that authorities said Chisholm may have shot him.

According to the police news release about Chisholm's shooting, police received information around 7 p.m. Nov. 7 that Johnson's shooter may have been on the 3100 block of North Darien. Responding officers saw Chisholm, who allegedly had his hands in his pockets, walking toward them.

When the officers asked him to show his hands, Chisholm allegedly ran away, police said. Officers in pursuit saw that Chisholm had a gun in his hand, police said, and when he was ordered to drop it on the 3100 block of North Ninth Street, he allegedly pointed it at officers.

In response, a sergeant fired at Chisholm. As he fell, Chisholm dropped his weapon along with a second gun he was carrying, police said. While on the ground, Chisholm allegedly tried to reach for the other gun and was shot in his torso and thighs by four officers. Police have not said how many shots were fired or how many times Chisholm was hit.

Although Johnson claims he did not see who shot him, he said he heard that it was a man from his neighborhood whom he had asked to stop hanging around his house.

Johnson believes that Chisholm was about to confront the man who shot him when he got into the confrontation with police.

"He was going around there to ask the guy why he would shoot me," Johnson said. "When he was on his way to find out, that's when the police seen him, and that's when all the shooting happened."

When asked why Chisholm - who once served a five- to 10-year sentence for firearms violations - might have had guns, Johnson said he didn't know.

"He might have made bad decisions, but at the end of the day, he lost his life trying to look after me," Johnson said. "And the person who done all this to me is still riding around chilling."

As with all news releases about officer-involved shootings, police wrote that the information was "preliminary and subject to change as the investigation continues."

"The initial story, 99 percent of the time, is not going to be what you have at the end of the investigation," Stanford said.

Police never said Chisholm had been "100 percent identified" as the suspect in Johnson's shooting, Stanford said.

"I'm sure that there may be some things that are different than what was reported that night," he said. "The reality is he had two guns and pointed one at police and then got another one."