50-year-old tried to protect friend during central Fresno shooting, family says

Fresno police said Michelle tried defending Charlotte from her boyfriend, 24-year-old Deandre Foster. Foster was arrested on Sunday.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Glynna Fenske says her daughter Michelle Johnson loved with every ounce of her being.

Helping people fueled her, and caring for them gave her purpose.

"She didn't have much materialistically, but she had such a big heart, and we are all going to miss her so much," she said.

Fenske said Michelle made everyone in her life feel like they belonged.

"She saw people as people, and she saw value in everyone," Fenske said. "Even the ones that society thought had no value."

At 50 years old, Michelle was preparing for her most anticipated role, grandma.

Her daughter is pregnant, and Fenske said she's due soon.

"Michelle was looking forward to becoming a grandmother any day," she said.

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Michelle also cared for another daughter.

Twenty-one-year-old Charlotte Ethridge wasn't her biological family, but Michelle stepped in as her mother.

Fenske says Ethridge was in the foster care system when she met Michelle. It wasn't too long after meeting that Michelle became her foster parent.

She also cared for Ethridge's two small children.

"Michelle babysat for them, and she called Charlotte her daughter," Fenske said.

Friday night, Michelle gave her life for Ethridge.

Fresno police said Michelle tried defending Charlotte from her boyfriend, 24-year-old Deandre Foster.

Detectives said there was a domestic dispute between the couple in their central Fresno apartment.

Michelle stepped in to protect Ethridge. Both women were shot and killed by Foster.

"She didn't know this was going to happen. She was just trying to save her friend, and she did what she thought she could do to help," Fenske said.

Fenske vows her daughter's memory will live on through her family and Michelle's book titled "Grand Tales."

The book is dedicated to Michelle's granddaughter.

Saturday Foster was booked into the Fresno County Jail on two counts of murder. Officers located Foster in northwest Fresno around 5:30 pm on Sunday and arrested him.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
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