Community shows support for all-state football player accused of robbery


A pastor is among those rallying behind a Springfield all-state football player who is one of seven teens charged in connection to a robbery at a Huber Heights AT&T store.

“Our community has been devastated by the incident and our job is to show support,” said the Rev. Paul Mitchell of Revival Center Ministries International in Dayton, who said he is is pastor and friend to 18-year-old Caleb Johnson.

>> 18-year-old suspect in Huber Heights AT&T store robbery indicted

Johnson, of Fairborn, is the only adult of the seven teens charged in the Feb. 1 armed robbery. He pleaded not guilty today during his arraignment in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on two counts of aggravated robbery and one count each of kidnapping and improper handling of a firearm. The judge continued his bond so he can remain out of jail.

Surveillance video captured a group of seven young men wearing masks and carrying guns, some of them automatic rifles, as they burst into the AT&T store in the Northpark Plaza at 8245 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights. They forced a customer to the ground and ordered workers to open a safe in the back room. Witnesses spotted their getaway cars and police tracked them all down in less than an hour during a manhunt that forced the lockdown of neighboring schools.

>> VIDEO: 2017 interview with Caleb Johnson on college recruiting offers

“I treat is as these young men deserve a second change, deserve another opportunity. We are not our mistakes. They don’t define us,” said Mitchell, who pointed out that Johnson had never been in trouble before, which police and court records confirm.

The 18-year-old Springfield High School wide receiver attended Trotwood-Madison High School until his senior year.

“We all make mistakes, fall short, need to show mercy and grace, especially in our community,” Mitchell said.

>> 7 in custody in custody in Huber Heights AT&T robbery, manhunt

Johnson’s next court appearance is not until the end of the month. The six juveniles will appear Friday in juvenile court, but prosecutors have said it’s possible their cases would be moved to adult court.

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