Chief Shatonya Johnson (Village of Oak Park)

Almost 30 years before Dennis Johnson’s death, 8-year-old Sukari Thomas, her mother and her aunt were fatally shot on the same stretch of Chicago Avenue. While the perpetrator has not been brought to justice, there is hope the case may be solved yet.

“We still evaluate cold cases and murders are never closed,” said Oak Park Police Chief Shatonya Johnson. “We still go back and look over the evidence.”

Their deaths were reportedly the result of an apparent robbery of Lady Caroline Florist, 20 W. Chicago Ave., in March of 1996. The flower shop was owned by Thomas’ mother, 39-year-old Caroline Thomas. The little girl and her mother were found on the shop’s floor, along with her aunt, Malika McDougal, 45.

“This crime was disgusting, obscene — there aren’t even any words for how terrible it was,” former Oak Park Police Cmdr. Robert Scianna told the Chicago Tribune at the time. “We are on a mission now. Every effort will be made to find this guy. No matter what it takes, or how long it takes, this little girl’s death will not go unavenged.”

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