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A reptile dealer featured in the first season of “Tiger King” took his own life in front of his spouse, police say.
Jeff Johnson, 58, who appeared in episode four of 2020’s “Tiger King” died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to an Oklahoma City Police report emailed to Oxygen.com. The former reptile dealer shot himself while arguing with his wife in the garage of their Oklahoma City home more than two months ago.
On Sept. 8, 2021, at around 10:08 p.m., officers arrived at the couple's residence in response to an “attempted suicide call,” according to the report. Johnson’s wife, Charity Johnson, told responders that Johnson shot himself in the head with a Glock 45.
Their two children were in the house at the time of the shooting.
When responders arrived at the scene, Johnson still had a pulse. He died in transit on the way to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.
Jeff Johnson isn't the first of the “Tiger King” cast to die since the Netflix docuseries first began streaming. Last September, zookeeper Erik Cowie, 53, was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, as previously reported. According to Fox News, the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that Cowie died of “acute and chronic alcohol use.”
Johnson was featured in the first season of “Tiger King,” talking about the consistent friction between the show’s most memorable characters, Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.
Johnson was a former friend of Joe Exotic’s until a falling out transpired when Jeff Lowe came onto the scene, according to TMZ. Amidst the back-and-forth feuding between Johnson and the two men, Johnson’s house allegedly burned down. While it wasn’t specified whether or not the fire was arson, it was enough to prompt Lowe to publicly deny any involvement.
Jeff Johnson was a car enthusiast and spent many years working in auto glass repair with his stepfather and with a towing company out of Norman, Oklahoma, according to his obituary in the Norman Transcript. Jeff spent his latter years as a stay-at-home father who “loved animals of all kinds.
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