Fellow officers, friends remember and honor Cassie Johnson
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Cassie Johnson’s friends say you didn’t have to be around her long to know there was something special about her.
Her smile was contagious, her grit and determination unmatched, and so was her love for animals and her family.
Her friends knew they were loved.
I knew that at any point in time I could call her or show up at her house if I wanted to and it wouldn’t be weird at all,” West Virginia State Trooper Maranda Wimmer said.
Wimmer, who’s now based in Raleigh County, remembers the first thing she said to Cassie, on the “hill” as they called it at the West Virginia State Police Academy.
“I remember whispering to her, ‘it’s going to be OK. ' "
As a West Virginia State Police cadet, Wimmer had already been at the academy for a week before Cassie, and her roommate Erin Simon got there. Simon now works as a detective for the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.
She and Cassie met for the first time in the room they shared for 16 weeks.
“I was expecting structure and gloom,” Simon said of going to the academy, but she instantly knew she had a friend when Cassie introduced herself while unpacking her things.
From there the women forged an unbreakable bond. In all, there were seven women who were in training at the same time. It was a party of seven. Now, it’s a party of six, with a guardian angel.
Simon says she didn’t want an angel. But she knows she has the very best one.
“If I could wish for anything she felt my hand and heard my voice that’s all I will ever need,” speaking of the time Cassie spent in the hospital.
Both women talked to Cassie two days before she was injured.
Wimmer says she and Cassie bonded over their love of animals. In that conversation she was trying to console Cassie, who just lost her dog of 14 years.
For Simon, that last conversation was just a quick check-in. She was in the middle of doing homework for her graduate program so the conversation wasn’t nearly as long as they normally were. But one thing remained the same: Cassie wanted to talk about her job.
“To say she just loved her job isn’t accurate,” Simon said. She went on to say it was so much more, it was a “calling.”
As for what happened that Tuesday on Garrison Avenue, the pair never got to talk about that.
Cassie was shot and succumbed to the wound on Thursday. But her work of serving others wasn’t done until she took her very last breath.
“Whoever gets her heart they are getting a heart of gold,” Wimmer said about Cassie’s decision to be an organ donor.
“Cassie is not an ordinary woman. She was very strong, in her faith, beliefs she was the most supportive wonderful person you could ever imagine,” Simon said.
You didn’t have to be around her long, Wimmer said, to think “‘she’s different, ain’t she?’”
“I think any of her friends, me included, and anybody who worked with her we do take peace in knowing she loved this job and if there was one way she wanted to go out it would be protecting the people of this city,” Wimmer said. “This is all she ever wanted to do.”
Simon had a similar sentiment.
“That was her job,” she said. “She was there to protect her community and she was going to do that at all costs.”
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