Charles Johnson Beaten to Death on a Chicago City Street: It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use

“You can hear Charles Johnson’s skull and facial bones being beaten in with each of the 19 blows his murderer deals out in a bystander video taken last month on a rain-soaked Chicago street,” Charles Glawe writes at Click here to watch the video if you like. If you don’t like, here are the gory details . . .

“The murder weapon—a glass liquor bottle—breaks only when Johnson’s killer has had enough and smashes it on the pavement next to the dying man’s head.

“Damn!”is all one of several bystanders says as the deadly beating plays out at rush hour on a Monday night.” . . .

As Johnson’s killer keeps hitting, and hitting and hitting and hitting him, cars pass and people walk by on both sides of the street. In that sense, the killing recalls the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese in New York, when a young woman was raped and murdered in her apartment when, at least according to a famous New York Times account, 38 New Yorkers ignored her screams.

At least one other bystander can be seen in the recording this February in Chicago pulling out a phone to record the killing, which remains unsolved; the suspect hasn’t been identified and is still on the loose, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Police and paramedics arrived soon after the video ended, and took Johnson to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

For some reason, Glawe reckons the slaying reflects the number of gun-related gangland murders in Chicago, inspired by “a lawless police department that unfairly targets people of color.”

What he doesn’t mention: that not one of the civilians on scene had the best tool for defending innocent life…a gun.

OK, I’m presuming. But we’re talking about Chicago, a city justifiably famous for degrading and destroying its residents’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Question: if you saw this happening, would you intervene? I would. But if I was in Chicago, I’d be disarmed. My efforts to protected innocent life would be far more dangerous and far less effective than they’d be here in Texas. FWIW.


  1. avatar Accur81 says:

    Yes, I would intervene. Yes, Chicago conntinues to be a cautionary tale of “progressive” big government corruption – Obama’s hometown.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      yup, every time someone whines or complains about Obama this or that, dude, he is a politician from Chicago.

      Were you expecting something different?

      Just for giggles, I wonder if anyone has a tally of all his Chicago buddies that endorsed him that are in jail, I would be willing to bet 3 out of 10 are.

  2. avatar RustyNutz says:

    That’s a tough question. What if you intervened, and it turns out the guy receiving the beating was just caught in a crime, and the guy throwing the punches was the victim. If you walk up in that moment, it could be impossible to tell, and you could be facing some serious charges if you shoot and kill the wrong dude.

    1. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

      The same rules apply for fists. Once the threat is neutralized your right to use deadly force ends so even if the fight started as a legitimate act of self defense that right has ended.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      The guy attacking a prone person with a deadly weapon is never going to be the victim even if he started as one, so not a tough call really.

    3. Your definition of throwing punches differs from mine.

  3. avatar Stinkeye says:

    What the fuck has happened to our society where the response to seeing someone inflict violence on another person is not to intervene, but to takeout your phone and record the beating?

    1. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

      At least the police have irrefutable visual evidence to support the murder charge. /sarc

    2. Chicago is not OUR society.

    3. avatar Hal J. says:

      I’m reminded of the recent instance in which a student at a high school was waving a butcher knife about and threatening everyone nearby. The response of virtually every other student was not to run away, but to stand still while taking a video with their phone.

    4. avatar tjlarson2k says:

      That is precisely the society the progressive liberals want. Everyone is disarmed and you are expected submit to criminals, even if that means you die because the police aren’t able to get there in time.

      People are realizing this and aren’t interested. Hence the rise in firearm ownership and evolution in many states to less restrictive and more Constitutionally compliant options for carry.

    5. avatar tjlarson2k says:

      They should all be accomplices in the murder and the only action that makes sense on your phone is dialing 911.

      Video is only an acceptable option if you have no physical way to intervene or otherwise help or affect a positive outcome for the victim — at the very least you are recording evidence to perhaps be used against the criminal.

    6. avatar AndyinMA says:

      I hate what phones have done to humanity.

      1. avatar JSW says:

        Tell me, Andy, just how did the phones cause anything to happen in society? Did they force us to use them? Did they use threat as a weapon?

        Just like a liberal blaming a firearm for what an dysfunctional person is responsible for. Don’t act like a liberal, OK? And better still, don’t be a liberal

    7. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      That is the root cause of all of Chicago’s problems. When common decency is gone, there is no decency.

    8. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

      Hardly surprising when Samaritans are rewarded with a beating from the cops

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        I noted the sentence in the middle paragraph where all 10 of the officers who assisted Horne in bringing the alleged “perp” resigned over the department and city official treatment of officer Horne. That shows great courage, and a laudable sense of honor.

        1. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

          “all 10 of the officers who assisted Horne in bringing the alleged “perp” resigned over the department and city official treatment of officer Horne”

          Things that did not happen.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Are you implying all those officers chose career and locker room privileges over integrity?

          What have police come to?

        3. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

          Say it ain’t so! 🙂

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          It isn’t.

  4. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

    The Kitty Genovese rape/murder is an early example of fake news. No one actually heard screams or any other indication that she was being attacked.

    1. avatar JSW says:

      I know, you’re being sarcastic.

      But if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear, is there a noise?

      1. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

        I am not being sarcastic. It is a “fake but accurate” urban legend. It was suppoaed to demonstrate how modern urban society had created a culture of indifference to the plught of others. The truth was much different. Nobody called the police because nobody heard her. They haf no idea what was going on.

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        tdiinva is absolutely correct. The Kitty Genovese “story” was an early exercise in journalistic lying. The story about callous New Yorkers who shut their windows and said nothing was made up by a so-called “journalist” to aggrandize himself and sell newspapers.

        1. avatar Swarf says:

          Yeah, that’s not true, either.

          While it is true that Gansberg reported the story with exaggerations, there were plenty of witnesses and plenty of blind eyes and ears turned.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          she never made it inside to her apartment from her car. neighbors did intervene, causing mosely to flee but later return.

      3. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Better yet, if a man says something in a forest, and there is no one around to hear him, is he still wrong?

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Multiple people did hear and\or see her being attacked. Two separate men knew she had been stabbed- and only one of them called the police…eventually (after the second of two attacks had ended). Most of the other people only heard that there was trouble but didn’t know the extent of it.

      It’s true that the narrative used to sell papers was not correct; there were not dozens of people watching her get stabbed to death for a half-hour. But it’s not all wrong. A woman was screaming bloody murder was stabbed and raped over a 30 minute period when lots of people heard her calls and did nothing. One man heard her scream that she was being stabbed and did nothing because he did not want to get involved. Another only called police after it was far too late.

      I’d like to consider it a myth but it’s really only an exaggeration.

  5. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Just wall it off, burn it down and leave it a warning to SF, LA, DC and NYC

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Lotta’ “what ifs” RF. You assume most of the Chiraq denizens were’t armed. The timeline is years after legal SHALL ISSUE even in Chicago. So many on the souhside/westside ain’t legal. I can’t believe homie got his head bashed and wasn’t armed with SOMETHING…would I intervene? Maybe but l don’t hang out there. MY neighborhood is going to he!! so maybe I will. I HAVE intervened in attacks years ago completely unarmed…

    1. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

      Good point. You could find yourself surrounded by armed gangbanger who are watching someone from a rival gang getting a beatdown. That would be a big oops if you drew your gun.

      We criticize the police for shoring the wrong guy in a fluid situation. Do you think [plural] you will do any better in a similar situation?

  7. avatar FedUp says:

    OK, so you don’t want to see a guy get beaten to death with a wine bottle.
    OTOH, you don’t want to be a victim of criminal violence yourself, and shooting a murderer in Chitcago will put you in close and probably unfriendly contact with Chitcago’s largest and best armed crime gang, the city government itself.

    The best answer I can come up with is to never go to Chitcago in the first place, and since my CHL isn’t valid in Illinois, avoid the entire state as much as possible.

  8. avatar JK says:

    Yes. I would intervene… From a distance (15-25 yds): I would draw, go to low ready and shout hey-that’s enough!; followed by “STOP or I’ll Shoot! Drop it now!” This might be one of the very few instances where I would take a warning shot. I just don’t know the situation. I agree that the man with the bottle clearly no longer had a right to self defense, but he may not have been the initial aggressor and this was simply a case of self defense gone too far. With that said, it this guy takes one step towards me with that bottle, he’s going down.

    [Edit: My answer comes with the caveat that I am assuming this was in my own city. Would I intervene in Chicago? After watching the Ferguson riots on live stream and the outright lawlessness in Chi-Town… HELL NO!]

    1. Dude’s already dead. Good time for a citizen’s arrest.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        This was a situation where it might not have been possible to save the deceased no matter what anyone did. When a person is swinging a somewhat heavy object (wine bottle) that hard and delivering blows that fast (about 1 blow per second) to someone’s head, the deceased’s fate was sealed in about 2 seconds.

        The unfortunate reality is that it is exceedingly easy to instantly incapacitate another human being with a single blow to the head when an attacker has the drop on an unsuspecting victim. And once a victim is incapacitated, it is exceedingly easy to deliver life-ending blows in three or four seconds with nothing more than a wine bottle.

  9. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

    Karolina Obrycka should also have defended herself with a gun.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      Best comment YOU’VE ever made!

  10. avatar Sam I Am says:

    The perp only had his hands and a bottle. He didn’t deserve to be shot. If the victim had a gun, he would have been using more force than necessary against a bottle.

    1. avatar Lucas D. says:

      Okay, let’s try out that logic in another scenario:

      “That rapist didn’t deserve to be shot dead by his victim. All he attacked her with was his fists and his penis!”

      Come on, you’ve been around here long enough to know how foolish that is. It doesn’t matter what he was using to kill that man; he was trying to kill that man and he succeeded. Lethal force would have absolutely been justified against him, from his victim or from an intervening party.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        He only had hands and a bottle. Any defender should restrict him/herself to like weapons. Knife for knife, rock for rock, bat for bat, hammer for hammer. Stopping the threat shouldn’t always mean killing the threat.


        1. avatar Dev says:

          I hope you’re just trolling (and badly) because if you truly think that I am saddened by your ignorance.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Food for thought. Or maybe ridicule?

        3. avatar Lucas D. says:

          Ridicule. Definitely and without question, ridicule.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Might be good to go back and read for understanding, rather than instantly react without understanding.

          Might not.

        5. avatar JSW says:

          Absolutely food for ridicule and scorn, Sam, which I am positive you would agree with were you the victim being beaten with a bottle while watching the crowd do nothing to help but record the event. You’d be praying for any one to come by with a gun.

        6. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Working too hard at this.

          C’mon. Lighten up. Ridiculing gun softies is fair sport.

        7. avatar Lucas D. says:

          Which means if you are simply trolling or making a satirical point, now’s the time to say so.

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    Having been hit with a bottle I can tell you it’s a decent weapon.

    In a perfect world I’d prolly hot this asshole twice in the head. IRL, in Chicago, I wouldn’t do anything because I wouldn’t be there. In some strange circumstances where I was in Chicago I wouldn’t be wandering around any place other than the hotel lobby/bar. Elsewhere it would depend but with a crowd present I’d be tempted to walk on because any intervention might go from 1 v 1 to 1 v 10 quite rapidly.

  12. avatar BierceAmbrose says:

    This only happened because it was one of those evil assault bottles, with one of those folding things that goes up.

    1. It was the vertical grip.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Added to the likelihood he probably lied on the background check when he bought the wine.

        Close the liquor store loophole !!

  13. avatar Kc in NorCal says:

    I was thinking the other day how foolish the media would sound if the asked the same questions about the weapon if it was a knife or bottle as if it was a gun.
    Do we know what brand of bottle it was?
    How many fluid oz. was it?
    Was it clear or colored glass?
    Did it have a handle?
    Where did he buy it?
    These are important questions we need to know the answer to.

  14. avatar bLoving says:

    Hey, RF.
    Remember the question of the day about what type of non-lethal weapon some of us carry? Instances like this where the whole story is not so clear is a good example of deploying a non-lethal tool to stop the attack without resorting to deadly force as well.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Thinking taser or pepper spray? Not legal here, but maybe such restrictions are the big minority. Hope so.

    2. So the guy on the ground may be the bad guy? So you pepper spray or taser the guy with the bottle and the guy on the ground pulls a gun and shoots the bottle guy, and maybe you.
      I think we want to have the perfect answer for any situation. Truth is, shit happens that we cannot control. Shoot the attacker and let the courts figure out the back story. In GA, the law clearly justifies lethal force in this situation. Hopefully you have a video to back up your decision to shoot.
      BTW, cops are now less hesitant to shoot while wearing body cams.

      1. avatar JSW says:

        If the guy on the ground had a gun and the ability to draw it, he’d probably still be alive and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

        1. George Zimmerman had a gun. He waited until Travon discovered it before using it.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Zimmerman was claiming “Castle Doctrine”.

          No, no. He was claiming “Stand Your Ground”.

          No, no. He was walking to his car with his back to Martin, which was a microaggression of disrespect, causing Martin to be overcome with rage at the indignity and attack the departing Zimmerman.

          No, no. Zimmerman is clearly heard on an edited recording that Martin was black, leading to Martin being disrespected and overcome with rage that forced him to ambush the retreating racist.

          No, no. Guns. That’s it, yeah, guns.

        3. Also, you can get knocked out and come to after a few seconds.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Not disagreeing, but with several people passing by and not calling 911 (an assumption not supported by/in the report) is pretty pathetic. If one has time to film, one has time to call.

  15. avatar LHW says:

    Yeah I probably would.

  16. avatar bobo says:


    if this attacker had on of those ‘one shot’ only airline/hotel bottles ====life saved!

  17. avatar CLarson says:

    Given the homicide clearance rate in Chicago is like 20%, odds are the murderer will never be found. That also means if a good Samaritan shot the thug and did not stick around chances are they would never be found either… food for thought.

    1. avatar AndyinMA says:

      Let me rephrase – I hate how idiotic people are with phones. I guess I am a Trump voting liberal.

  18. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Kelly Thomas’ murder should have been a defensive firearm use.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    The answer to all this glass bottle violence is plastic bottles. For the children.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Bingo. Winner!!

    2. avatar WillProtex says:

      No, No No, they can be melted down and made into a shank, apparently you have never watched the shows about prisons. 🙂 What we need are bottles made out of the waxed covered paper.

  20. avatar Adub says:

    Criminals going to criminal.

    If I’d come across that situation, I would have drawn my firearm and commanded the attacker to stop and drop the bottle. If he hadn’t, I would have fired to protect the person on the ground from great bodily harm and felony assault.

  21. avatar WillProtex says:

    I would have called 911 only, my firearm is there to protect me and my family and friends. It may sound mean, but here in Nebraska they preach to just call the police unless you have seen the assault start, otherwise you don’t know who the bad guy is, hell they could both be bad guys,

  22. avatar Phillip Whitehead says:

    YOU, Sir, just hit the nail on the head… Our society is seriously messed up.
    Someone please pass the ammunition…

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    Huh, so someone can kill someone like that? You don’t say? It’s funny, I imagine if a cop happened across the scene and shot the perp mid-swing there would be an outcry.

    And that’s why Chicago PD are now under the motto “Stay Fetal.” If you’re going to be blamed either way, you might as well do things in a way that won’t get you individually prosecuted to appease the masses.

    1. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

      It amuses me that people are actually attributing timidity to the CPD, arguably the most brutal and corrupt department in the nation.

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