A group of nearly 50 students and parents gathered at West Hills in Santee to remember Aaliyah Johnson, who they say was killed earlier this week with her father, Reuben Johnson. Her mother is accused in the crime. NBC 7s Chris Chan reports.
A San Carlos woman accused in the shooting deaths of her husband and daughter inside the family's apartment suffered from a depression according to a family friend.
Regina Johnson called a relative in another state and said her husband and daughter were dead according to investigators. She is in custody, accused in the deaths.
The shooting may have occurred as early as Wednesday and Johnson may have been inside the apartment with the bodies for three days, according to authorities.
Family friend Ron Royales said Regina Johnson, 55, had suffered bouts of depression in the past but that doesn't explain how a seemingly loving family would meet such a tragic end.
"She had suffered bouts of depression in the past. and he had told me she was having a little trouble this year," Royales said. "That's why he asked me for my help, to take Aaliyah to school. And I said 'No problem.'"
Royales said a week and a-half ago, Reuben had told him that he didn’t have to take Aaliyah to school anymore.
“He told me everything was good, and Regina came by the house too and said I didn’t have to pick up Aaliyah anymore. She said everything was good and she was doing better,” said Royales.
Royales said he lived near Reuben Johnson in Navy housing, both of them 20-year Navy veterans. Their kids have been friends since kindergarten.
He recalled Regina Johnson was a dedicated mother.
"Aaliyah was her life. That was her princess," he said. "Everything she did was about Aaliyah, everything.
"Everything I can remember was all about her."
Police said there were no calls from neighbors reporting gunshots at the complex Saturday morning.
The suspect and victims had lived in their apartment for the last year.
Royales and other family friends of the Johnsons attended a candlelight vigil for the slain teenager at West Hills High School Sunday where friends lighted candles and recalled good times they shared with their friend.
Reuben Johnson had retired as a Chief Petty Officer and was now dedicating his life to his family according to friends.
Other parents said even though the Johnsons lived in San Carlos, they requested an inter-district transfer so Aaliyah could go to school with her friends at West Hills.
The school's website said that administrators will bring in crisis counselors Monday for students affected by the loss of their friend and classmate.