‘Tiger King’ Reptile Dealer Jeff Lynn Johnson Dies By Suicide At 58
A police report reveals that Johnson died on September 8 by suicide following a dispute with his wife in their home garage. According to his wife, Charity, Johnson shot himself in front of her during the argument. He was still alive when authorities arrived at the scene but later pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital.
According to his obituary, published in the Norman Transcript, Johnson was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma, on October 31, 1962. Described as a car enthusiast, Johnson worked at Norman Auto Trim & Glass and was a driver at L&A Wrecker. He was also a reptile dealer and appeared in the fourth episode of the first season of Tiger King, the popular Netflix series that debuted in 2020.
In the episode, Johnson spoke about animal-rights activist Carole Baskin and the Oklahoma big cat zoo owner Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence. In 2019, Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin; his life in prison is documented in the recently released second season of Tiger King.
The death of Johnson came in the same month that fellow Tiger King star Erik Cowie passed away from acute and chronic alcohol use. Cowie featured on the show as a zookeeper working alongside Exotic at the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Oklahoma.
Johnson is survived by his wife, two young children, his mother, and two brothers.