A young woman who put herself in harms way to protect a South Loop liquor store owner during looting late last month is telling her remarkable story for the first time, saying that she felt compelled to stand up for the man while looters ravaged his business.
Ceondra Porter, also known as “Cici,” was leaving a peaceful protest on that fateful night when she encountered a group of looters attacking the store. Quickly stepping into harms way, she stood in front of the door, imploring people not to enter the store.
“I didn’t feel like I put my life on the line,” she said. “I was just protecting another human being.”
Surveillance footage of the dramatic incident shows store owner Gene Charness trying to protect his store, chasing looters before they turned on him and began to attack him. One person sprayed a fire extinguisher, and several others physically attacked him, leaving him with several stitches and a large bump on his head.
That’s when Porter stepped in, putting herself in front of the door and urging looters to leave the store alone.
“The same guys who attacked him came back again and they were threatening me,” she said.
She stood guard for two hours in front of the store.
“I said ‘this is my store. I work here,’” she said.
Eventually the looters moved on and Porter, just as quietly as she’d stepped in front of the business, left the scene without giving even her last name to Charness.
“It’s a testament to the goodness of mankind,” Charness said. “I love her and I’ll never be able to repay the kindness she brought forward.”
For weeks, the family wondered if they’d ever meet Porter, to thank her for doing what she did. Then, on Father’s Day weekend, that union finally happened.
“That is what she always does,” Porter’s father said. “It was totally selfless. I was just thankful that the man above was looking out for her.”
Porter is a nursing student, and is currently working her way through school. After her heroic actions, she says that one simple though motivated her.
“I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt,” she said.