Monrovia football player Derrick Johnson facing charges of attempted murder

Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
A Monrovia High School senior and standout football player pleaded not guilty Monday in Fontana Court to charges of attempted murder, attempted robbery, possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Derrick Johnson, 18, of Monrovia, was arrested Wednesday following a botched robbery and shooting in Fontana. (To continue click thread).

He entered his plea at an in-custody arraignment and is being held in lieu of $1.425 million bail, court officials said.

Johnson is due back in court May 3, for a preliminary hearing, officials said. He is being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. A court official said Johnson has not been assigned a public defender.

School officials, family members and others who know Johnson refused to speak about the arrest Monday.

Monrovia Unified School District superintendent Linda Wagner and Monrovia High principal Darvin Jackson did not return calls seeking comment. Monrovia athletic director Randy Bell and Monrovia football coach Ryan Maddox declined to comment.

Terry Brown, Johnson’s sister, also declined to comment Monday.

Johnson starred at linebacker for the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia Wildcats. During the 2010 season, the All-CIF selection recorded 110 tackles and had three sacks. He was named Rio Hondo League Linebacker of the Year. Johnson was also named to this newspaper’s All-San Gabriel Valley Team, which combines football players from both the east and west sides of the San Gabriel Valley.

Police said the shooting took place Wednesday after two teens, one of which is alleged to be Johnson, pointed a revolver at two brothers in the 14200 block of Baseline Avenue.

Fontana police Sgt. Billy Green said the brothers, aged 22 and 16, were waiting for their parents to finish work cleaning a nearby pre-school.

The brothers were approached by the gunmen and asked if they wanted to buy some marijuana, Green said.

When the brothers declined, one of the suspects produced a handgun and demanded money. The brothers said they didn’t have any money, and ran away.

Shots were fired and the 22-year-old was hit twice, once in the left side of his body and once in his buttocks, Green said.

Following the incident, the shooters fled on foot. Johnson and a 17-year-old accomplice, who was not identified by police, were apprehended a short time later at a nearby housing development, Green said.

The arrests occurred at a housing complex in the 14000 block of Bancroft Court in Fontana, slightly more than a mile from the shooting location, Green said.

Green was not sure whether police discovered a handgun, or how much, if any, marijuana was recovered.

Staff Writers Aram Tolegian and J.D. Velasco contributed to this story.

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  • Communication

    If this young man is found guilty, it’s going to be a tough lesson learned. You would have hoped that a gifted athlete would have found a mentor to keep him on the right path.

    It’s a wake up call to every parent, keep talking to your kids…

  • Observantcat

    Good Post! Communication

    This kid should be playing D1 football somewhere and making his family and community proud of him. How he got to be so far off track is really mind boggling.

  • reality

    Not knowing the facts far to many football players are found to be cowards and bullies. Beating and raping women,assaults of all kinds,drunkeness,drug use, exposing themselves,hitting waitresses,gangbanging,shooting at people in the back no less as they are running away? All acts of cowardice that is happening all to often. Not sure football is teaching anything but violence for violence sake.

  • Fred Robledo

    “far too many?” That’s where you lose me, in more than 15 years of covering high school football, this is probably only the third or fourth case of a situation this serious, Lawrence Phillips of Baldwin Park another that comes to mind of a similar situation. I hate when someone takes an isolated incident and uses it to say there is something wrong with a certain group of people or a sport, it’s simply not true at all. Participating in football, probably more than any other sport, is a great life lesson.

  • Trojan Man


    It’s TRUE …We as parents NEED to QUESTION EVERYTHING our kids do.Sad situation …

    Put a leash on these ” at risk ” players coaches !


    Fight On Monrovia !

  • Mid 90’s

    There was a young man from Covina H.S. (mid 90’s) who had signed with Washington State killed at a backyard party a the summer before he enrolled.

  • Alex Trebek

    “You would have hoped that a gifted athlete would have found a mentor to keep him on the right path.”

    NO, If he really wanted to stay on the straight an narrow path he could have found a way to do it on his own. saying we hope he would have found a mentor would be a straight up cop out.

  • Dan

    “Not sure Football is teaching anything but violence for violence sake”
    You must never have played the game if you really believe that.

  • reality

    Fred: You hate when I take this isolated incident, are you loopy? You said you recall only 3 or 4 incidents this serious the last 15 years? Lazy reporting is what I hate. There have been more than that the past year alone just locally. The Muir and Norwalk football players murdered and coaches as a rule do not publicise team misconduct but try to keep it in house so there many incidents we dont hear about. You and Dan are truly living in lala land. I’am not saying many kids do not benefit from the training but to many fragile minded kids take that training way to far and misuse it on the street. And if you dont think violence is preached you or Dan are deluded.

  • Davi-May

    Key word in this whole topic is gun…Anybody can have a gun and it is easier to shot than discuss. Football is a violent sport, what is a gun?

  • Dan

    Please clear things up for me here, how does teaching kids to block & tackle properly, or to throw or catch a football, or to read a defense,
    or an offensive lines movement, or to run a pass route, or to dedicate oneself to his team or to working hard to get your body in shape, or how to persevere and not give up in hard situations, or many of the other disciplines that are taught in football translate into a kid pulling a gun on someone?
    Imagine if there was no football in highschool, where would all these thousands of kids be if they weren’t participating in football, many would be in the streets or neighborhood parks getting into a lot more trouble than we have now. If the kid had the mindset to pull a gun on someone he just wasn’t right in the first place, football had nothing to do with it. In fact he probably would have been in trouble a lot sooner
    with out football. Notice how it did not happen during Monrovia’s season? Think about it.

  • TheBestestSportsMom

    I happen to know Derrick Johnson personally & I will tell you, anyone who knows him knows this is not his m.o. Remember there was another person involved (a minor) & his info cannot be released. Yes, i know more details than most & all I have to say is let’s hold judgement until everything comes out. Nothing has said he personally pulled a gun or shot or robbed anyone. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time & now is part of a crime he may or may not have known was going to happen or committed & now is initially being charged the same as the actual perp. Yes very bad decision on his part, but all the facts are not out. His friends,family and his community are not turning their backs on him. We are all staying tight lipped until all of the details are released.
    Derrick is an awesome loving kid & I think I can speak pretty well on his character as I have known him all his life. Football did not cause this, The school did not cause this, parenting did not cause this it was a very bad decision on his part that caused this.