By FRANK MAIN, ASHLEE REZIN and JEFF MAYES
An 18-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Pamela Johnson, who was fatally struck by a pickup as she and her boyfriend attempted to flee an armed robbery by running across Lake Shore Drive last weekend in the Gold Coast.
Semaj Waters was charged Friday with with felony murder, mob action and attempted armed robbery, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. He will appear in bond court on Saturday.
Police on Thursday were questioning two adults and four teenagers in the death of the 32-year-old Johnson, who was killed early Sunday morning in the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
Waters was the only person charged on Friday, but prosecutors and Chicago Police said the investigation is ongoing.
On Tuesday, the department released CTA surveillance photos of the group of men who allegedly threatened to hold up Johnson and her boyfriend, 43-year-old Eugene Jackson, on the lakefront. The photos were taken in the Red Line stop at Chicago Avenue after the incident, police said.
At least one of the men was carrying a gun when they chased the couple onto Lake Shore Drive, according to Jackson.
That’s when the truck struck and killed Johnson — mother of a 12-year-old boy — in the southbound lane. A Chicago Police officer flashed his emergency lights at the pursuing men, who crossed Lake Shore Drive and ran west, police said.
Jackson wasn’t seriously injured.
“We have a pretty good idea of who the offenders are,” Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said Thursday. “We received community tips.”
Police said the video supported Jackson’s account of the incident. It shows the couple was approached by a group of seven or eight men before the fatal accident, Guglielmi said.
Jackson said the couple were sitting near Lake Michigan about 1:30 a.m. discussing their future and enjoying the balmy weather when a group of “menacing young men” approached them.
They had previously trekked from their South Side neighborhood to the picturesque setting “a thousand times” to watch the runners, cyclists and boats, he said, adding it was the first time they felt afraid there.
The men left, then started to approach the couple again, quickly. The couple ran to North Lake Shore Drive near Huron Street and hurdled the concrete barrier to escape.
They safely crossed the northbound lane. But as they looked back, they saw the men at the same barrier—and at least one of them had a gun. Johnson was struck by a pickup as she darted into the southbound lane, Jackson said.