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UW-Whitewater grad's legacy lives on, one year after murder

"His life was bigger than what was taken from me"
Purcell Pearson
Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 22:26:06-05

MILWAUKEE — One year after losing her son, Stephanie Johnson continues carrying on his legacy.

Purcell Pearson was just 22 years old when he was shot and killed a little over a year ago. Police said it was during a Facebook marketplace meet-up to sell some glasses.

“It’s hard, but as long as I have breath, we’ll get through it,” Johnson said.

As she flipped though an album filled with memories, Johnson continues pushing ahead. It’s now more than an year since the day her son, Purcell Pearson, was murdered.

“I go through the different stages of grief, but I get through it because I know who my child was, and I know his life was bigger than what was taken from me,” Johnson said.

Pearson was killed on February 6, 2021. It was during a meet up to sell a pair of designer glasses.

Two people were charged: Tyrell Joseph, who was arrested this summer, and Ismael Moreno, who remains on the run.

Johnson said she misses her son’s spirit of entrepreneurship, community and giving.

“I cry every day. I tell him how much I love him. How proud I was of him, and I wipe my tears and go on about my day because as long as God gave me the breath, I gotta use it,” Johnson said.

In the time since his death, Pearson’s legacy lives on.

The UW-Whitewater graduate was honored with a City of Milwaukee proclamation. He was also recognized by leaders of the state of Wisconsin and U.S. House of Representatives.

At his alma mater, there’s a scholarship in his name.

“It’s geared toward people who are going to help the community. People who share his spirit and people who are going to make a better world for all of us,” Johnson said.

To donate to the Purcell Alex Pearson Achievement Scholarship, visit here.

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