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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Victim of downtown shooting remembered as a loving family man; 24-year-old man charged in case

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 19, 2021

Family and friends of Steven “Stevie” Cavitt, who was killed in downtown Spokane, crowded into a courtroom Tuesday afternoon with tears in their eyes to watch the man arrested for the shooting make his first court appearance.

Diandre R. Johnson, 24, was arrested Monday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection to the shooting early Saturday.

Cavitt’s family, wearing shirts with his smiling face printed on them, sat tearfully as Johnson entered a not guilty plea Tuesday. His bond was set at $1 million.

As the court hearing came to a close, Johnson smirked and blew a kiss to the courtroom.

Cavitt’s family quickly filed out and dissolved into tears. They remember him as a proud father and loving family member.

Cavitt was born and raised in Spokane, said Daija Allen, his longtime girlfriend. He graduated from Rogers High School in 2014. He was an avid basketball player, Allen said.

He was a devoted father to his son, Carti, Allen’s daughter, Harmony, and the couple’s two daughters, Heavenly and Haliyah. He was a hands-on dad, Allen said.

He picked the girls up from school every day, took them to the park, even painted their nails, she said.

Despite having an up-and-down relationship, Allen said Cavitt always stood by her. He also spent a lot of time with his mother, grandma and little sister, while also being there for his brother who is in prison, Allen said.

“He was just a really good person,” Allen said.

On Friday night, the couple had a few drinks at their house before Cavitt decided to go out with friends, Allen said. It was the anniversary of his cousin’s death and he wanted to reminisce with friends.

The group went to Crave! bar, then left, walking across the street into a parking lot east of Washington Street, according to court documents.

In the parking lot they were confronted by Johnson, a witness told police. The witness had “beef” with members of the “NFL” gang, of which Johnson was a member, he told police.

Johnson put his hand on Cavitt’s face and Cavitt reacted by striking the hand away, the witness told police.

That’s when the witness said Johnson pulled a gun and shot Cavitt multiple times, according to court documents.

Johnson’s girlfriend said he woke her up in the middle of the night and said he had been involved in a shooting, according to court documents.

She admitted to helping Johnson dispose of the gun by driving him to a lake where he got rid of it, according to court documents.

The next day the girlfriend said she was contacted by a few people telling her Cavitt died in the shooting. The girlfriend confronted Johnson about the shooting, which he didn’t deny, court records say. She then kicked him out of the house.

The downtown shooting wasn’t the first gun incident involving Johnson that week. His girlfriend said that Johnson fired the weapon into her closet. Police were able to locate the bullet hole, according to court documents.

On Monday evening, Johnson was arrested coming out of a store in Spokane.

Johnson, a felon, was armed at the time of his arrest, according to police. Johnson was out on bail while awaiting trial on two counts of first-degree assault and violating an order from April 2020. He also has prior conviction of attempted robbery from a 2015 shooting incident near Manito Park. He also was convicted of car theft at about the same time.

Besides the murder charge stemming from Cavitt’s death, Johnson also faces two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Since her boyfriend’s death, Allen has struggled to help her children understand their father isn’t coming back.

“I told them he’s in heaven and they just keep asking why he can’t come back,” Allen said.

Allen said Johnson has been bragging about the shooting on social media.

“He just has no remorse.” Allen said. “I just want justice for Stevie.”

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