DART shooting victim 'made the most of life'



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Posted on February 9, 2012 at 12:08 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 9 at 2:40 AM

GARLAND — Employees at WaveWare Technologies spent more time reflecting about a former colleague than working on Wednesday.

"I'll remember him as a good friend and a long-time co-worker," said Jacqueline Sanchez, reflecting on the life of Eric Johnson.

Johnson, 42, was standing on the platform waiting for a train at DART's Arapaho Center light rail station in Richardson on Tuesday afternoon when he was gunned down during a police shootout.

"He really made the most of life, and he never complained about any of his disabilities," said Janet Rock, owner of WaveWare Technologies.

For nine years, Johnson's loyalties lay at this small wireless communications company, where he programmed pagers, performed maintenance, and helped load and unload boxes — despite disabilities which prevented him from seeing and hearing very well.

"If he didn't want to hear you, he would just turn his hearing aid down," Rock said. "Sometimes I would just say 'Eric, turn your hearing aid up!'"

Though Johnson got laid off last year in the bad economy, he frequently called to see when he might get hired back.

Friends remember him as a movie fanatic, who enjoyed singing karaoke, and as someone who loved the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We would always give him a hard time about that, because we're in Dallas and we're big Mavs fans, but he was a big Lakers fan for sure," said former co-worker Michael Valdez.

Maybe more than anything, Eric relished crowds.

On Tuesday afternoon, he died in one at that DART station as he pursued his other passion and took the train to NorthPark Center in Dallas to see Denzel Washington's new film.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com