Melanie Johnson's "53206" Movie Family Remembers the 15-year-old
Funeral services will be held tomorrow for 15-year-old Melanie Johnson, who was killed when shots were fired into her home.
Investigators say those shots were not meant for her, but her brother.
Two rivals fired into Melanie's home on 35th and Silver Spring Monday, December 12th. Family says Johnson died shielding her nephew. Johnson recently acted as an extra in the film "53206 Milwaukee" which is about overcoming violence in the city.
Johnson is the second person to have appeared in the film to be killed.
Erick Perkins plays "Oscar" in the film. Shot in Milwaukee, the movie follows the "53206" documentary, both produced by local filmmaker Kim Zulkowski.
"This broken piano right here saved my life... this is exactly what this movie is about, what's going on right now, and I was a gangster 6, 7 years ago," said Perkins.
Perkins' character is a gang member. The movie follows people in the zip code hoping to rise above the street life.
"She has these dreams of being famous and making it," said Imani Brown.
The movie centers around Brown's character, "Robbie," a 17-year-old girl who wants to become a singer. She hopes to become famous and come back to help her troubled neighborhood.
Sometimes Brown and Perkins feel too much like their characters.
"She was a very beautiful young lady. It saddens me," said Brown.
Last week the "53206" cast learned about a death in their on-set family.
Melanie Johnson was 9 weeks pregnant and 15 years old when she was shot through her kitchen window.
She was an extra in the 53206 movie, and made an impact while filming scenes in a classroom.
"She was setting goals for herself. She set an example and her family and her friends were proud of her. Mz. Kim was proud of her. I was proud of her. She was so happy in the classroom," said Perkins.
The two soon-to-be movie stars both can't help but smile when they remember Melanie.
"Just like everybody else she was full of energy. everybody was fun and laughing, and it was taking the directors a lot to calm everybody down because everybody was so excited," said Brown.
"The joke that me and her had, we said, 'We're going to have a garbage bag full of popcorn when this movie come out.' I'm going to miss her," said Perkins.
Brown and Perkins both explained they've sung at too many funerals, "and not enough graduations."
The "53206" movie is about rising above violence, and they hope Melanie's death wakes the community up.
"I hope when people see the movie they take heed," said Brown.
The same problems faced in the movie ended up taking Melanie's life, and she will be remembered for trying to stop the violence.
"Their work is not in vain. That was a piece of them they were able to leave here with us before they were gone. When you look back at the movie and you see their faces, their families get to see their faces and remember that memory. Not what happened, but remember what they did before they left."
Johnson is the second cast member that died since the cast filmed the movie. Clinton Washington was also an extra. He was discovered dead in a trash can in October. His death, like Melanie's, was ruled a homicide.