[cifnmedia] Illinois Paramedic charged in death

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 19:58:47 -0700 (PDT)

Paramedic Charged In Death Of Woman Pushed Down Stairs
Two Men Accused In Death

POSTED: 10:54 a.m. CDT April 13, 2004
UPDATED: 1:50 p.m. CDT April 13, 2004

Story by nbc5.com 

CHICAGO -- Murder charges have been approved against a Chicago paramedic 
accused of pushing an 85-year-old woman down the stairs of her home while 
fleeing police for an attempted home invasion, police said Tuesday. 

That man, William Johnson, 35, of 3432 W. 115th Place, was charged Monday with 
first-degree murder, accused of fatally injuring Clara Daniel, 85, as he made 
his getaway, according to Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman John 
Gorman and an Oak Lawn police sergeant. 

He was already in jail on charges of attempted murder, home invasion and 
aggravated battery in the March 26 robbery attempt on a home on the 9700 block 
of Karlov Avenue in Oak Lawn, according to Oak Lawn Police Chief Robert Smith. 
Charges of armed robbery and aggravated battery to a senior citizen were added 
for the incident with Daniel, he said. 

The second man, Jose Torres, 30, of 3818 W. 60th Place, had been charged with 
Johnson on March 29 with attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated 
battery, Smith said. 

The two had been scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on the previous 
charges in Bridgeview Court at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Smith said. 

Court information for the men was unavailable. 

According to Smith, Johnson and Torres went to the door of the Karlov Avenue 
home at about 9:51 a.m. on March 26 wearing uniforms from the U.S. Postal 
Service and masks, Smith said. When the 49-year-old man living in the home did 
not open the door for them, the pair broke the windows and forced their way in, 
he said. 

As the men beat the resident with a collapsible baton, the resident's friend 
ran out the back door and got into his car, Smith said. Johnson allegedly 
followed him out, put a gun to the man's face, and pulled the trigger several 
times, but the loaded pistol did not discharge, he said. 

The would-be robbers apparently knew their 49-year-old victim and targeted him 
because they thought he had money, Smith said. 

Johnson was a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department. NBC5 learned that 
he's on administrative leave without pay. The men fled on foot, and the friend 
followed them northbound toward 95th Street and Pulaski Road in Evergreen Park, 
where the men had planted their getaway car, Smith said. The men split up as 
they approached the parking lot, he said. 

Torres was apprehended on the 9400 block of South Pulaski Road by Hometown and 
Evergreen Park police, Smith said. 

Johnson, meanwhile, ran south on Pulaski Road in Evergreen Park, and into the 
apartment building where Daniel lived, at 9659 S. Pulaski Road. Daniel was 
walking up the stairs with groceries in her hand when Johnson knocked her down 
a flight of stairs and took her car keys, Smith said. 

Police in the area saw Daniel's Saturn come "flying out" of the building 
parking lot, and pursued it until 87th Street and Pulaski Road, where they lost 
it, Smith said. 

Police from Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Hometown, the Cook County Sheriff and 
Chicago flooded the area, and later that morning found the Saturn in an alley 
in the 3700 block of West 86th Street in Chicago, Smith said. 

After a yard-to-yard search, Oak Lawn and Chicago police officers found Johnson 
hiding in a garbage can in the 8500 block of South Drake Avenue, Smith said. A 
gun was recovered in a nearby yard, he added, but he declined to specify the 
type of weapon. 

The friend of the 49-year-old man who was the target of the home invasion 
identified Johnson and Torres as the attackers, and the pair was taken to the 
Oak Lawn police station to be processed. 

Daniel, of 9659 S. Pulaski Road, in Evergreen Park, died Saturday of injuries 
suffered when she was pushed down the stairs, Smith said. 

She was initially taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care 
Centers in Evergreen Park, and was later transferred to the Alden nursing home 
in Orland Park, Smith said. 

Daniel was pronounced dead there at 1:40 p.m. Saturday, and an autopsy 
determined she died from blunt head trauma from a fall down the stairs in a 
homicide, according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's 

The men appeared for a bond hearing March 29 in Bridgeview Court, where each 
was held on $1 million bond, according to Smith. 

Copyright 2004 by NBC5.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be 
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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