In 2018, police announced an Aus$1 million reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, which was doubled when Johnson’s brother, Steve, matched the amount in March.
Steve Johnson, who had long pushed police to investigate his brother’s death, said it was “remarkable” the alleged killer had been apprehended almost 32 years later.
“This is a very emotional day. Emotional for me, emotional for my family who… love Scott dearly,” he said in a video statement.
“It’s emotional, I’m sure, for the gay community for whom Scott had come to symbolize the many dozens of other gay men who lost their lives in the 1980s and ’90s in a world full of anti-gay prejudice and hatred.”
In 2018, New South Wales police acknowledged that at least 27 murders between the 1970s and 2000 were homophobic hate crimes, admitting the force had played a part in marginalizing the LGBT community and enabling society’s “acceptance of shocking violence directed at gay men” during the period.
“It is clear and beyond question that levels of violence inflicted upon gay men in particular were elevated, extreme and often brutal,” police said at the time.
The suspect in Johnson’s murder is due to appear in a local Sydney court on Wednesday.