Fatal Shooting of West Ward PizzaChef is Latest ‘Tragic and Senseless’ Newark Slaying

“The metal gates were down and Golden Pizzeria and Grill was closed, hours after authorities said a gunman robbed and fatally shot the 55-year-old pizza chef, a family man and neighborhood fixture known for giving away slices to needy customers. Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said Newark resident Calvin Johnson was shot 11:13 p.m. Saturday, inside the pizzeria on South Orange Avenue at South 11th Street, and pronounced dead a short time later at University Hospital. No arrests had been made as of Sunday night. DeMaio termed Johnson’s death ‘tragic and senseless,’ and called on the community ‘to assist in our efforts to bring the person or persons responsible to justice.”‘

“Neighbors, local officials and others said Johnson’s killing was part of the ongoing violence in the West Ward neighborhood, which included the armed robbery of a shoe store across the street last week, and the Jan. 17 shooting death, also during a hold-up, of a bodega owner few blocks away. In that case, a 16-year-old was arrested in the death of Miguel Torres Peralta, 37, at the JNC MiniMart at 14th Avenue and 18th Street. Customers gathered outside the pizzeria this morning said Johnson had been a fixture in the neighborhood for decades, known for his skill at making pizza and his generosity in serving it.”