Chicago’s cesspool of violence worsens by the day. Sadly, even the innocent serve as backstops for bad guys’ errant shots on a regular basis in America’s largest open-air shooting gallery. Among the latest victims; Bobbye Johnson, a 55-year-old grandmother who was hit by an armed security guard’s errant round fired from four blocks away.
The liquor store security guard had opened fire on a suspect who was over a block away at the time after an altercation.
Did we mention the so-called security guard, Victor Brown, 34, reportedly had prior convictions not only for armed robbery, but domestic battery, too? And reports say he had multiple current warrants for his arrest in Wisconsin.
But wait, there’s more. The armed security guard was packing a starter pistol. Confused? Read on.
It all began with the guard escalating an altercation with a guy nicknamed “Renegade.” A witness said the guard, Mr. Brown, acted belligerently and put his fists in Renegade’s face. At that point Renegade reportedly fired a shot from his pocket which struck Mr. Brown in the foot. Renegade then fled.
Brown accessed his starter pistol and fired “shots” at the fleeing Renegade, which likely caused him to run faster.
When a second armed guard approached to render aid to Brown, Brown apparently wrested control of the other guard’s (real) gun and fired twenty (20!) additional rounds at the fleeing Renegade who by then was a block away.
One of those rounds struck Ms. Johnson, a grandmother and regular choir member at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in the South Shore neighborhood as she stepped out of a bank four blocks away. She was hit in the chest and died.
It didn’t take police long to put the crime scene together and arrest Brown on a host of charges.
Breaking: The Security Guard involved in a shootout on 35th street earlier this week is being questioned by police.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 4, 2022
CBS2 Chicago has the sad story:
Victor Brown, 34, is facing one felony count of first-degree murder and one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon in Bobbye Johnson’s death. She was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon as she stepped out of the Chase Bank at 3500 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., about four blocks away from the liquor store where Brown was working…
Prosecutors said Victor Brown was working security at Wood’s Food and Liquor and Jamaican Jerk King restaurant at 35th Street and Indiana Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, when he got into an argument with another man, who goes by the nickname “Renegade,” and had been an issue on the block in the past, and had been banned from the store and restaurant…
Police and prosecutors said Brown then grabbed the other security guard’s gun, sat up, and fired a total of 20 shots at the gunman while he was more than a block away on a busy street. The nurse who witnessed the shooting told police she screamed at Brown to stop shooting.
A stray bullet struck Johnson in the chest as she was about four blocks away. She was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
CBS 2 has learned that Brown barely had any training as a security guard.
Also from the CBS2 Chicago story:
The owner of the security company said he did do a background check but did not know Brown had a record…
The owner said Brown came in with standard 20- and 40-hour security training certificates.
The owner of Bounty TAC Force hasn’t returned a call for comment about what sort of background check failed to turn up Brown’s armed robbery and domestic violence convictions, and what sort of training certificates were furnished.
As fate would have it, I spoke with a legitimate security company owner and the information he shared proved priceless. In Illinois, an armed security guard must have a FOID card, a company ID card, a “PERC” card which is basically a 20-hour certification on the use of deadly force, and a Firearms Control Card (which is received after the now, as of January 1, 2022, 28 hours of range and classroom time in the safe and proper use of a firearm).
The 48 hours of required training for armed security in Illinois is expensive and there’s a mountain of paperwork for legitimate companies to comply with the Land of Lincoln’s laws. Furthermore, the insurance rates are astronomical. Of course, the cost of failing to meet all these requirements is not only great financial liability but potential criminal violations as well.
A quick license look-up at the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation website did not turn up any of the required registrations for Bounty TAC Force or its owner, Khephren Ferguson.
The bottom line is that this isn’t the first time a “security” guard in Chicago has shot and killed an innocent bystander. Last September, a non-compliant registered sex offender and four-time convicted felon working as an armed “security guard” shot and killed someone after an altercation over failure to wear a Chinese flu face covering. Then he argued it was self-defense, claiming the unmasked man posed an immediate threat of death or great bodily injury…because COVID.
It’s unknown if Mr. Brown will, through his attorney, claim self-defense in firing upon an attacker who was running away at a significant distance. What is known is that Chicago’s personal injury lawyers will surely be beating down the door of Ms. Johnson’s family seeking to represent her in a claim.
The other constant in today’s Chicago: it simply isn’t safe. Not even for innocent people minding their own business.