Woman Charged With Stabbing Musician On Red Line Platform

Sun-Times Media Wire
February 06, 2020 - 2:06 pm
Barbara Johnson

Chicago police

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A woman with a history of mental illness allegedly attacked a street musician with a steak knife Tuesday on a downtown CTA platform, destroying his guitar and nearly pushing him onto the L tracks, prosecutors said in court Thursday.

Barbara Johnson, 38, faces two felony counts of aggravated battery and a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property in connection to the stabbing at the Red Line platform at Jackson.

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Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz cited Johnson’s extensive felony background, which includes convictions for resisting arrest and battery to an officer, when denying her bail.

The attack began about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when Johnson, who did not know the performer, approached him and unplugged his guitar amplifier, prosecutors said.

Johnson shoved him toward the tracks, nearly pushing him over the edge, and punched him several times, prosecutors said.

He eventually got away, but she chased and stabbed him in the arm with a steak knife, prosecutors said. Johnson then threw his amplifier and guitar onto the tracks, prosecutors said.

Chicago police said the 26-year-old performer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition.

Johnson was arrested by officers at the station and was identified by witnesses and the victim, prosecutors said

Her public defender said she has a history of mental health illnesses, is a life-long Chicago resident and attends St. Sabina Church.

A woman who identified herself as the street performer’s sister told the Sun-Times, “The woman who stabbed him also destroyed his only means of work.” She has organized an online fundraiser. 

Johnson is due back in court Feb. 11.

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