Fatal police shooting raises questions

A spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner reported today that Johnny Goodwin, the 22-year-old man who was fatally wounded by police early Wednesday morning, was shot in the back.

The autopsy revealed a single gunshot wound in the "lateral back," the Medical Examiner's spokesman said.

Johnny Goodwin
After the incident, the police department said Goodwin was armed with a gun and running toward the officer who shot him.

"If he was running at him, how could he shoot him in the back?" asked Frank Sears, 67, a neighbor of Goodwin's for the last nine years.

According to police, Johnny Goodwin was walking just a few blocks from his home in a working-class section of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood when police came upon him in a squad car. Goodwin ran when he saw the police, and hid from them in the back stairwell of a home on the 8100 block of Morgan Street.

When officers found Goodwin he was holding a gun, police said. When an officer told him to drop it, Goodwin  instead charged the officer with gun pointed at him.

The officer shot and killled Goodwin in self-defense, police said.

"The Medical Examiner's findings are consistent with ours," said Monique Bond of the Chicago Police Department Office of Media Affairs. The gunshot wound, she said, was in the "right side of the posterior armpit region, under the right arm."

The "lateral back," said Bond, includes the area under the armpit. The wound Goodwin suffered was in an area that would have been exposed if his right arm was extended, she said.

The physician who performed the autopsy on Goodwin at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office could not be reached for comment late today.

Goodwin, of 835 W. 83rd St., had been arrested several times and charged with misdemeanors ranging from criminal trespass to marijuana possession and battery, according to court records.

Sears said Goodwin "seemed awful lonesome," said Sears. "He always seemed a decent kid to me."

"I never saw him running with a gang," said Sears. "I used to see him quite often."

Sears expressed frustration with the police in his neighborhood.

"When they come through here there's no telling what they're liable to do," he said. "They come through here every day at the same time. I could set my watch by them. I know it's a dangerous job, but you can't go around shooting people just because you have a badge and a gun."

Goodwin is the third person to die this month during a confrontation with Chicago police.

On Aug. 4, police responding to a domestic complaint in the 8100 block of South Green Street, tasered Geffery Johnson, 42, multiple times.  He later died.

On Aug. 6, an officer shot and killed 18-year-old Aaron Harrison after he refused to drop the .9 milimeter handgun he was holding, police said. 

In both incidents, accounts from witnesses and family members' accounts differed widely from those of police.

Harrison's incident led to tense confrontations between police and community members who believed the shooting was unjust.

Discuss

NICOLE COUSIN OF JOHNNY GOODWIN, 08-27-2007

yea that was my only cousin same age as me.we were close we grew up together.its going to be ackward not havin him around anymore.ill miss his smiles,eatin wit me like we never ate before and hugs.the paper portrayed him as a bad seed.he was not like that at all he was quiet and innocent,and much loved by everyone he came in contact with.

GEOFF DOUGHERTY (THE EDITOR), 08-29-2007

Nicole, thanks for commenting, and sorry for your loss. Reporter Geoff Wallin is continuing to look into the circumstances surrounding the shooting, and he would like to talk to you. He can be reached at wallin (at) chitowndailynews.org, or at 773.362.5002 , extension 13.