Home where 92-year-old woman killed by police to be turned into non-profit youth center

ATLANTA — The home where a 92-year-old woman was shot and killed by police in a botched raid is being transformed into a community center.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen was in front of the modest yellow brick home along Neal Street in northwest Atlanta Friday.

The home is being renovated from top to bottom and will be used to mentor local teens.

But non-profit co-founder KaCey Venning says people also need to know the home’s history.

On November 21st of 2006, Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed by police during a botched drug raid that ultimately sent officers involved to prison. For nearly 16 years little in the house was touched. Not even Miss Johnston’s calendar.

“The fact that she lived to be 92, and for her life to end that way, it was heartbreaking,” Vennings told Petersen.

Now, her place has been given new life. The non-profit Vennings co-founded, Helping Empower Youth (called HEY for short) has renovated it from top to bottom. It will now be used to mentor local teens.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“It was almost like it was frozen in time. That’s literally how it was,” HEY Co-founder Marc Boyd said.

Besides offering a guiding hand for teenagers, the home will be open to members of the community who need to wash clothes or even use a shower.


The house has a new name, too. Mother Kathryn’s HEY House.

“I think it’s a big deal. I think she’d want this. For us to keep it up,” 18 year old J.P. said. J.P. is part of the program and did some of the work.

Vennings said it’s important to show that tragedies can give way to community change.

“It’s really important that we keep her legacy alive to show young people that horrible things can happen, but it’s what you do with those things that make a difference. We hope the can use this as an example that you don’t have to let tragedy dictate what your future looks like,” Venning said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]