RACINE — Police have identified the 36-year-old man who was shot and killed Thursday morning near the 1900 block of Hickory Grove Avenue, just off DeKoven Avenue.
The victim was identified as Sylvester D. Johnson, who lived in the Racine area, although it’s unclear where exactly he was living at the time of his death. According to online court records, Johnson’s last listed address was 521 6th St., the HOPES Center of Racine, which provides assistance to people who are homeless.
Johnson often spent time at the Hospitality Center, 614 Main St., next to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where he was able to enjoy camaraderie and a warm place to spend time.
Lika Phipps, a volunteer at the Hospitality Center, said Johnson always dressed nicely when she saw him, either in a suit or a nice pair of jeans and button-down shirt.
Phipps did not know where Johnson lived or stayed at night, but she said “he was a fun person to talk to.”
Johnson would talk about issues that affected the low-income community and he wanted to make a difference, Phipps said.
“I’m sorry he isn’t going to get the chance to do that,” Phipps said.
Phipps said she knew Johnson had struggles in his life, but it’s not something he openly talked to her about. And she didn’t pry, respecting the Hospitality Center as a “judgment-free zone.”
Johnson had a pending court case for disorderly conduct and bail jumping, as well as a case involving criminal damage to property, and he was due back in court next week for a plea and sentencing hearing.
As of Friday afternoon, police said no one was in custody yet for the incident, which they are calling a homicide.
The police received the shots-fired call at about 4:32 a.m. Thursday and found the victim in an alley suffering from gunshot wounds.
The investigation is ongoing. Any witnesses, or citizens with information, are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 262- 636-9330.