'They said they were going to kill us': Couple attacked by teens in Chicago speaks out
CHICAGO - A couple who was violently assaulted by a mob of teenagers over the weekend in downtown Chicago is speaking out about the terrifying experience.
The video of 20-year-old Ashley and 22-year-old DJ being attacked in the 100 block of North Wabash Ave. has gone viral. They say they had just left Nordstrom shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday when they were confronted and assaulted outside the Macy's entrance.
"We were in downtown Chicago trying to shop, trying to get some food, and were walking down the street and there was a really big group of guys, a really big group of people, guys and girls. DJ had my hand trying to lead me through the crowd of people and they pushed him, they pushed me, and as soon as they pushed me I told DJ, ‘They just shoved me.’ And he was like, ‘Don't shove her, who shoved her?’ And as soon as he said that, everything went crazy," Ashley recalled.
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"They said they were going to kill us. They turned around and started fighting. I got pushed down to the ground and the whole group went to DJ and not to me. I have a whole lot less injuries than he does because I was more of a bystander than anything. But everyone went for him and ended up in the middle of the street. They were jumping him in the middle of the street. It got pretty bad," Ashley said.
Chicago police say the offenders stole property from the victims before continuing on their way.
"It was a group, a mob, of about 60 to 100 people," said Lenora Dennis, a Chicago citizen and Good Samaritan who was nearby and tried to protect Ashley and DJ from the attackers after she said police did not come to their aid.
Ashley said she saw the cops just drive past them as she was getting off the ground from the attack.
"They almost had to avoid the collision to get past us, but they just drove by the incident in the middle of the street," she said.
"Cops drove right by it. Acted like they didn't see anything," said DJ.
"I literally went out in the street and held my hands up to a police car and asked them to stop and motioned them over to what was going on, and they just cut a path around me and just kept going," said Dennis.
Dennis was eventually able to get the couple into her car. She then drove them to the police station to file a report.
"I got told by the desk sergeant that this was going to happen, and that this was going to keep happening because Brandon Johnson got elected," said Dennis. "That floored me."
Dennis said an ambulance then took the couple to the hospital, but the couple was without their phones, wallets, and shoes — all of which had been stolen during the attack.
"I told the couple that I was going to go home to find them some shoes so that they wouldn't be barefoot for the rest of the night," said Dennis, who tells FOX 32 the couple was staying at an Airbnb for the night.
"God bless her," Ashley said. "She gave us shoes, took us home, took us to the hospital. Thank you so much. I don't know where we would have been without her."
"Do unto others," said Dennis. "That's a mantra that I live by every day. Just do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
DJ, who is suffering from injuries to his face, shoulder and back following the incident, told Fox News the attack was completely random.
"It was very random because all we were doing (is) we had just left Nordstrom and we were looking for somewhere to eat and we saw that group and they just thought they were tough and they wouldn't move out the way, just out there being stupid, young and dumb, trying to prove a point for nothing," DJ recalled. That's how that happened."
Despite her criticism of the police response downtown, Dennis said the detectives who took the police report were "great guys" and did an extremely thorough job.
Nobody is in custody for the attack, according to Chicago police.
RELATED: Chicago police release names of adults charged in weekend downtown chaos
CPD released a statement Monday night, saying in part: "The reckless, disruptive and violent behavior that was seen downtown this past weekend will not be tolerated...we actively and continuously review open source social media and additional resources will be available to protect those who are visiting, living, or working in the areas of large gatherings...we strongly encourage parents to accompany their teens or have them remain under the supervision of a responsible adult."
Ald. Chris Taliaferro, who chairs the City Council's Public Safety Committee, reacted to the weekend mayhem and what he thinks should be done moving forward.
"I think it's important for us as a City Council to sit down and discuss how our officers will be deployed this summer, but more important, how can we as a city engage our young men and women," said Taliaferro.
Some community activists are calling for the parents of offending teens to be fined.
"There needs to be fines," said Raul Montes, who also called on the Guardian Angels to intervene. "People are getting fined for red light tickets, speed cameras, why not fine the parents and hold them accountable?"
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the weekend behavior "reckless, disrespectful and unlawful." But she said that many were there to have a good time and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.
"As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct," Lightfoot said in a statement. "Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home."
She said she has been in communication with CPD leadership and they have assured her "that they will make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months."
In a statement, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said that though he does not condone the "destructive activity" that took place downtown, it was not constructive to demonize youth who he said have been starved of opportunities in their own communities.