Johmeik Simmons Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

Image Credit: NBC New York

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Still a Mystery’ takes the viewers through cases over the years that have remained unsolved. Through a re-examination of the facts of the case aided by interviews of law enforcement, family, and others involved in the case, the show tries to understand what led to the crime. The episode ‘The Hidden Clues’ is about the unsolved deaths of two 20-year-olds. One of them, Johmeik Simmons, was shot in November 2016. A case that was initially ruled as a suicide, strange occurrences and a family that never gave up led to a change. Curious to know more about the case? We’ve got you covered.

How Did Johmeik Simmons Die?

Johmeik Simmons was 20 years old and used to be a star football player for his high school team. Once out of school, he had enrolled himself at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York. A resilient man, Johmeik won a battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the time. Things were looking up for him after that. He was back in school, had started dating a girl, and also worked as a doorman. But none of that lasted because of what happened on November 15, 2016.

Image Credit: NBC New York

Johmeik was supposed to go meet his grandmother but, for some unexplained reason, went to his friend’s house instead. Over there, he was shot in the head once. The two friends that were present with him at the time claimed that Johmeik had shot himself. He was rushed to a hospital but was in a coma before being passing away five days later. The medical examiner at the time had ruled it a suicide within a few days but the family was not convinced.

Who Killed Johmeik Simmons?

Johmeik’s mother, Tihesha Climer, had stated that her son was not depressed. She said that he had just beat cancer and had a lot to live for. The family had felt that the investigation wasn’t carried out thoroughly enough. The report filed at the time did not have any witness statements. The two boys that were in the room with Johmeik had claimed that he argued with his father earlier, after which he just pulled out a gun and shot himself.

Another peculiar finding was the fact that the ME’s office had ruled the death a suicide even before forensic testing of the samples, which only happened in March 2017. Furthermore, Tihesha had stated that Johmeik’s cellphone and keys were placed in his father’s mailbox a few days after the incident, with messages and call logs from that particular day being deleted.

The mystery surrounding his death deepened when Tihesha received an anonymous text in February 2017 which said her son had been murdered, and it indicated that it was one of the boys who had shot him, pointing to a cover-up. Tihesha never heard back from the police after she sent them the information and the case was closed in July 2017. Tihesha’s hopes for closure were reignited when two private investigators started to look into Johmeik’s death.

Their investigation revealed that Johmeik’s wound wasn’t consistent with a gunshot wound that results from suicide. The gunshot residue, the pattern of the wound, and the angle were unusual. They also made the distinction that he was shot on the right side of his head despite being left-handed. Their findings were corroborated by an independent forensic pathologist who also mentioned the blood spatter strongly indicated homicide.

Another fact that seemed to support this theory was that when the gun was tested, there were multiple DNA profiles on it, including one that belonged to one of the boys who was in the room that night. The scene photos did reveal broken glass and other objects, which pointed towards an altercation. Despite all of this, the police maintained that they had conducted a thorough investigation and didn’t have probable cause to make an arrest at the time. The family, as a result, was left disappointed.

In 2019, Johmeik’s family filed a lawsuit wanting the cause of death to be changed to a homicide in light of the findings by the private investigators. There was a settlement reached in early 2020 when the Medical Examiner’s office changed the cause of death to “undetermined.” Having said that, ultimately, the death of Johmeik Simmons has not been solved to date.

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