CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Chicago Police officials said they have identified some members of a suspected robbery crew accused of chasing a couple onto Lake Shore Drive over the weekend, leading to the death of a 32-year-old South Side woman.
The department on Tuesday released high-definition CTA surveillance photos of the men who allegedly threatened to hold up Pamela Johnson and her 43-year-old boyfriend on the lakefront early Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
At least one of the men was carrying a gun when they chased Johnson and her boyfriend onto Lake Shore Drive about 1:40 a.m. Sunday, according to the boyfriend.
A pickup struck and killed Johnson in the southbound lane. A Chicago Police officer flashed his emergency lights at the pursuing men when they reached the concrete barrier on the east side of the Drive and they fled, said the boyfriend, who asked that his name not be used.
“We have a pretty good idea of who the offenders are,” said Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department. “We received community tips.”
None was in custody Tuesday afternoon, Guglielmi said.
The couple had previously trekked from their South Side neighborhood to the picturesque downtown setting “a thousand times” to watch the runners, the cyclists and the boats.
It was the first time they felt afraid there.
The boyfriend credited the unidentified officer with possibly saving his life by driving back the would-be robbers.
“If it wasn’t for the police being there at the time, I don’t know where I might be now. Six feet under?” he said Monday.
The boyfriend also urged anyone who knows the assailants, whose appeared to range in age late teens to mid-20s, to turn them in to the police.
Guglielmi said detectives discovered video supporting the boyfriend’s account. The video shows the couple was approached by a group of seven or eight men before the fatal accident, he said.
Detectives want to question the men.
Andrew Holmes, an activist who is related to Johnson through marriage, had suffered the loss of his own daughter in a murder last year in Indiana.
“Yeah, it hurts because it hit home again,” Holmes said. “We got to quit putting a Band-Aid over crime and sugar-coating it. And the families [of criminals] need to stop protecting their family members.”
Johnson was the mother of a 12-year-old boy and worked at a call center, her family said.
On Monday, her boyfriend was so upset that he could barely talk about her, but he managed to say, “She was my baby. Also she was a loving daughter, a loving sister and a damn good mother. We’re all going to miss her.”
The couple had just arrived at the lakefront before the alleged robbers started stalking them, he said.
“We was sitting down, enjoying the weather and talking over goals — and life.”