• New England's Unsolved: The murder of Tony Bijan

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    On the night of July 18, 2002, Malden’s Tony Bijan furiously rang the doorbell to his brother’s apartment, upstairs from where Tony lived on James Street.  

    Tony’s brother ran downstairs to find his brother, holding his neck, bleeding.

    “They shot me! They shot me!” Tony said.

    When police arrived, Tony was collapsed on his front porch but still conscious. First responders stabilized Tony and an ambulance rushed him to Mass. General Hospital in Boston. 

    At one point, police were able to talk to Tony and ask him what happened. He told them two white men, dressed in black, attacked him and shot him in the neck. Tony could not identify them. 

    In the days after the shooting, Tony hung in the balance between life and death, but he slowly seemed to improve. Tony talked to members of his family. He told them, he did not know who attacked him, but his sister, Michelle Johnson, told Boston 25 News reporter Bob Ward when he talked about what happened he seemed, “terrified.”

    On August 7, 2002, Tony’s health unexpectedly took a turn, and Tony died from complications.
    Michelle Johnson told Ward, “(This) destroyed my family.”

    Sixteen years later, Tony Bijan’s murder is still unsolved and Michelle and her family are still looking for answers, still trying to understand what happened. 

    Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan told Ward recently that Mass. State Police assigned to her office, and Malden Police are taking a new look at the case. 

    “We need people to think back to that night,” Ryan said.  “We need anyone in the area who might remember something, no matter how small, to tell us what they saw or what they heard.”

    In the hours before the fatal shooting, Tony was with his family at a cookout in Saugus.

    Michelle Johnson tells Ward it was a fun night, everyone was happy and Tony was in great spirits. Later, Tony called his sister to say goodnight, and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. 

    Bob Ward asked Michelle, “When you hung up the phone with him, was there anything in his voice, anything that suggested anything was wrong? 

    Michelle answered, “No, he was very happy.”

    Tony was one of Michelle’s older brothers. She thought of him as her protector. And even today, she is amazed by how many people called Tony their friend.

    “They called him the Mayor of Malden,” Michelle remembers. 

    Tony Bijan owned a construction company, Seville Construction and Development, to support himself. He was a 1983 graduate of Malden High School and went on to Bridgewater State where he played football. 

    DA Ryan told Ward police are still searching for a motive for the shooting. And one possible motive may be the fact that police found six pounds of marijuana in Tony’s apartment, along with $500 cash. But the DA is quick to add, it is not certain if Tony was the victim of a targeted attack.

    Tony’s family does not know what to make of the revelation that a sizeable amount of marijuana was found in his apartment. Michelle Johnson tells Ward Tony did not use drugs and she is certain he did not sell drugs, either. 

    Whatever the motive, the fact is, at 37 years old, Tony Bijan was murdered and he leaves behind a family still deeply grieving his loss and determined to find justice.

    Michelle Johnson is offering a $15,000 reward.

    If you can help, call Mass State Police assigned to Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan’s office at (781)897-6600.

    Next Up: