“Here at The Trace we strive to give voice to people whose lives have been changed by gun violence. What we haven’t done, until now, is talk to people whose lives were changed because they pulled a trigger,” Deputy Editor Ben Hallman writes in the erstwhile news org’s daily email blast. “We don’t want . . .
to give a platform to someone so they can rationalize away what they have done, or make excuses for their behavior.”
Which is exactly what convicted killer Chaz Thrailkill (above) does in The Trace’s first person account of the shooting death of Steven Agee II.
It was around 1:30 a.m. when we arrived. There were 25 to 50 people in the apartment. My friend and I scanned the party for good-looking women before we retreated downstairs, where a few people were playing video games in a bedroom. While sitting in the corner, I heard a man and a woman arguing in another room.
Then I heard a big “thump, thump, thump.” Then I saw a woman on the ground at the bottom of the staircase. I jumped up from my seat and approached the woman to see if she was okay.
I saw a man, Agee, standing in the middle of the staircase. He stood at 6’1, several inches over me at 5’9. His post on the staircase made him seem even taller.
Everything from this point felt like it took place in a matter of seconds.
I began to question him about pushing the woman. He responded that he would do the same to me. He came down the stairs. I pulled out my gun. Initially, I figured I would just flash the gun and then he would back off. My friend tried to jump in between us at that point, and Agee pushed him out of the way.
He motioned toward my weapon. I remember him saying “I’ll take that shit from you.” I feared for my life. I shot him three times in front of everyone at the party that night — once in the arm as he went for my gun and twice in the back as he fell to the ground.
I wish I could explain my reason for taking it to that extreme. Everything happened so fast. I didn’t take time to think it over. (Police reports and witness testimony generally corroborate Thrailkill’s version of events.)
The Chicago Police department only provides police reports to the public in person or by mail. So, at this point, all we have is The Trace’s word that Mr. Thrailkill’s account is “generally” accurate.
Which assumes that The Trace’s “editorial fellow” JoVona Taylor obtained the police reports, examined the witness testimony and compared the information therein to Mr. Thrailkill’s account of the shooting.
Clearly, Mr. Thrailkill is depicting his homicidal fusillade as a defensive gun use: defending a woman thrown down the stairs no less.
Scanning the news reports of the homicide, I discovered that Mr. Thrailkill fled the scene after the shooting. And that Mr. Thrailkill shot Mr. Agee “twice in the back and shot once in the arm, which then hit his chest.”
Neither of these facts are conclusive proof that Mr. Thrailkill’s account is inaccurate. But the fact that the Marine took a plea deal that puts him in jail for a minimum of 25 years makes it seem like his defensive gun use claim wasn’t credible enough to satisfy a jury of his peers.
The Trace needed Mr. Thrailkill to be an otherwise law-abiding “concealed carry killer” (even though it appears he was carrying illegally). A man who wouldn’t have killed if he hadn’t been carrying. Because, as you know, The Trace doesn’t want any American to carry a firearm (save the police).
“I killed a student at a college party. I wish I wasn’t carrying my gun that night.” That’s how The Trace’s email sells the story. In fact, despite the quote marks, Mr. Thrailkill said no such thing. Here’s what he does say . . .
“I know that having a gun might seem like the best option, especially as a black man growing up in a city like Chicago, but question whether you really need it and why.
Are you ready to take on the consequences if you shoot someone during an altercation? Are you ready to deal with the aftermath of taking someone’s life?”
Did Mr. Thrailkill really say that last bit? I doubt it. In fact, this whole story smacks of “fake news.” Then again, what did you expect from a Bloomberg-funded anti-gun agitprop machine?