Southfield man sentenced for shooting 13-year-old boy in the head at Detroit gas station

Charles Phillips sentenced to 18 to 30 years

Southfield man sentenced for shooting 13-year-old boy in the head at gas station
Southfield man sentenced for shooting 13-year-old boy in the head at gas station

DETROIT – Damarian Johnson was 13 years old when he was shot in the head at a Detroit gas station.

“I want you to know that day was the worst day of my life,” Johnson’s mother, Diane Brathwaite, said. “The day you shot him. He was learning to drive earlier that day. Now he’s back to being an infant again.”

READ: 13-year-old boy in critical condition after shooting at Detroit gas station

Johnson is nearly 16 now and has severe brain damage because of the shooting.

“He can’t walk. He can’t talk. He can’t laugh. He can’t smile. The only way he can express emotion is crying. Pain is the only emotion I’ve seen since this happened,” Diane Brathwaite said.

Charles Phillips, the man who shot Johnson, said he didn’t intend to shoot Johnson.

“I’m lost for words. I’m sorry,” Phillips said.

Johnson’s family and the judge did not buy Phillips’ apology.

Johnson’s mother is a nurse. She said she can’t go back to helping patients when her son needs around-the-clock care.

“It never crossed my mind that it would be my child laying in the bed helpless ... As I continue to pray for my son. I’m forced to pray for you too. I don’t like it but I’m forced,” Diane Brathwaite said.

Phillips was sentenced to 18 to 30 years behind bars.

READ: Company gifts family accessible van after teen shot in head at Detroit gas station


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.