Deadly Houston Uber shooting: Mother of Neilo Johnson speaks out

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When images of a shooting involving an Uber ride car flashed across her television screen last Friday, Latarjah Dean never imagined her son would be accused of pulling the trigger.

"He's very intelligent, very outspoken. He's real, he states the fact and deals with the issues," Dean said of her son, murder suspect Neilo Johnson.

Johnson was arrested on Monday and made his first court appearance on Tuesday. Investigators say last Friday, Johnson shot his longtime friend James Booker multiple times as Booker got into an Uber.

Related: Man charged in murder of Uber passenger after shooting in NW Harris County

Court documents show Booker and Johnson were at a friend's house watching a movie when both men said they had to leave for different reasons.

Booker then called an Uber. That Uber driver told ABC13 Eyewitness News that when he arrived at an apartment complex, he saw Booker and Johnson hug goodbye.

After that, Johnson went to his car as Booker got into the Uber. But moments after that, the driver said Johnson came toward the Uber car and began firing at Booker.

RELATED: Uber driver leaves with dying passenger shot at pick-up: Sheriff

The Uber driver then floored his gas pedal, driving to FM 1960 at TC Jester while calling 911. By the time he parked, Booker was already dead.

"They were best friends, they were really tight, they always hung out together," said Jason Hardy, Johnson's uncle. "Whatever Neilo needed, they would have his back, and whatever Booker needed, they would have his back. They were real close."

Now, as one mother is getting ready to bury her son, another is wondering if hers may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"You can never say never, you never know. It's just the faith that I have when I walk with God. I just don't believe he did that," said Dean. She says she will visit her son in jail and hopes to speak to him about whether he committed the killing.

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