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Tower Down 12.02.19 (TX)

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Tow Truck Driver Shot and Killed While Repossessing a Car

Zach Johnson, 24, died Monday at Medical City Denton




Family and co-workers are mourning the loss of a tow truck driver who was killed on the job early Monday.


Zach Johnson, 24, was a tow truck driver at Texas Auto Towing Service in Sanger.


Business owner Joe Baker said Johnson was hired about three weeks ago.


"This is the very first person I've ever lost," said Baker, who's been in business for 20 years.


Johnson loved life, fishing and mudding in his pickup, which was still parked at Texas Auto Towing Service on Tuesday evening.


At about 1 a.m. Monday, he was killed repossessing a car at the Best Western Inn & Suites on Swisher Road in Lake Dallas.


"A $500 car. It was literally a 2003 Nissan model car," Baker said.


Police said Johnson was about to drive off with the car when 37-year-old Barry DeGeorge walked outside, claimed it was his, then went back in.


"That's when the gentleman opened up the window of the hotel and proceeded to fire on him," Baker said.

DeGeorge fired 12 times, police said.


Police performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Johnson was taken to Medical City of Denton, where he died.


"He left way too soon," Baker said tearfully.


Since the shooting, work at Baker's business has come to a screeching halt.


Now, every minute is spent planning for a funeral for an employee who came to work, but never went home.


Funeral services for Johnson are Friday at 2 p.m. at Meador Funeral Home in Gainesville.


A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover funeral expenses.


Baker said he's considering shutting down his business for good, saying he and his wife couldn't bear to have another tragedy happen on their watch.


DeGeorge is in the Denton County Jail charged with murder. 


Lake Dallas Police said he told them he thought Johnson was stealing his car.





Funeral arrangements for Zach Johnson are as follows:
Services will be @ Meadow Funeral Home
1204 East California
Gainesville, TX 76240

Visitation Thursday Dec 5th from 6-8pm
Funeral will be Dec 6th @ 2pm


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Horrible. Rest easy Operator. Your shift is over.

As a side note, I pray that this scum gets the gas chamber. Even that is too good for him. You took a mans life because you cant pay your bills. A man who was just doing his job.And from the sounds of it, you have devastated and destroyed a thriving business.  There is NO lower life form on this planet than you.

Maybe my words are harsh, but I am disgusted by people like this

There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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I believe most vehicle owners know they're in arrears and know their vehicle is about to be repo'ed. Mark Lacek and I've discussed where surrender of vehicles should be a process of a court order. Once a civil matter deems that a vehicle should be seized, deputies go to a residence to seize a vehicle (during daylight hours) and they call the tow truck company. Whats stopping that process? If law enforcenent is dispatched to protect the peace and deputies are servants of the courts ... why can't repos be a process of a court action? Wouldn't that eliminate the late night sleuthing and clains of car theft?  R

Randall C. Resch

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There is a fine line whereupon bottom feeder finance companies generate millions of dollars in late fees and penalties versus picking up and collecting on bad paper. The finance companies simply will not pay court costs. Many do not even want tk pay to have keys made. 

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Horrible, Thought's be with him and may the bastard that killed this Rookie Tow Op HANG...


I can't help but be angry and at the same time wonder why he didn't get and go. It's an Involuntary Repo!!!

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I have always had the mindset that the best repo is the one with zero contact. You hook it and book it. You do not pull it to the street and put on lights and straps. You do this away from the debtors residence. You do not ask for, or knock a door for keys. Any contact with a debtor is likely to be confrontational. You also need to be aware that finance company representatives in some cases provoke negative behaviors by riling up the debtor. 

I do not know anything about this situation that lead to this incident, but I will state that there is not even anywhere near the training required to be an adjuster as far as the state is concerned. I have never had a weapon pulled on me personally. I avoid debtor contact if at all possible. I will NEVER knock a door for keys, EVER.

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