Alleged robber who caused standoff 'can't help himself,' friend says

Marietta SWAT officers take Taavon Johnson into custody after the standoff. (Photo: John Spink/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Marietta SWAT officers take Taavon Johnson into custody after the standoff. (Photo: John Spink/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A woman has spoken out about the knife-wielding man police accuse of putting a Marietta neighborhood on lockdown Wednesday morning after allegedly trying to steal a flatbed truck.

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As of Friday, 22-year-old Taavon Johnson, was in the Cobb County jail on charges from that incident and on counts from several previous warrants, mostly vehicle burglary and vehicle theft, over the past month.

Marietta police confirmed Friday that Johnson has been charged with robbery by force, kidnapping, cocaine possession and three misdemeanor counts.

The cops also announced that Smyrna police have linked Johnson to multiple open theft cases and will be seeking charges against him for those.

A friend of Johnson told Channel 2 Action News that all this trouble is because of a drug problem.

Aline Clemons said Johnson used to date her daughter and that after they broke up, he started using drugs more frequently and would commit crimes to fund his habit.

“He has a problem. He can’t help himself,” Clemons told WSB-TV.

She said that she barred him from her home after he stole from her.

“I hope that he (gets) better and cured. Right now, I don’t want him on the street because I was afraid he was going to get killed,” Clemons said. Johnson is in Cobb jail without bail.

The commotion started about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when Johnson allegedly tried to steal the truck.

The carjacking victim beat his own work truck with a sledgehammer to get Johnson to stop and called 911 to report the attempted theft.

The carjacking victim declined to be interviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through a police spokesman, but WSB-TV reports that in the 911 call that the man said: “They were stealing it … and I followed this guy … jumped on the back of the truck … we fight and he ran away. He had a knife so I let him go.”

None of the several warrants accusing Johnson of vehicle theft and burglary in Cobb over the past month mentioned him being armed.