An off-duty Chicago police officer had just helped break up a fight outside a bar in Beverly and was walking away when he was shot in the back and paralyzed over the weekend, a Cook County prosecutor disclosed Tuesday.
Daniel Golden, who hails from a family of cops, “was doing what he could to keep people apart” and had even stopped someone from chasing the man who minutes later grabbed a gun and fired off 19 rounds, Asst. State’s Atty. James Murphy said in court.
One of those bullets hit Golden “dead center in the back,” slicing through his spine and lung and becoming lodged close to his heart, Murphy said. Doctors have decided not to remove it for now.
“Medical personnel indicate that [Golden] is paralyzed from the mid-abdomen down, which may be permanent,” Murphy said.
Another bullet hit Golden’s younger brother, grazing him in the leg, according to relatives.
The alleged shooter and three other people were later arrested with the help of surveillance video and witnesses.
Bryant Hayes, 22, is accused of firing the shot that struck Golden. He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated use of a weapon.
Justen Krismantis, also 22, allegedly handed the gun to Hayes and faces the same charges. A third man, Demetrius Harrell, 28, is charged with taking the gun from Hayes and firing it down the street toward Golden and others.
The three later exchanged text messages joking about the confrontation, according to Murphy. ”Let’s get drunk this weekend and start a bar fight,” one of them reads. Another, “The S— was fun they beat my ass too.”
Hayes was arrested as he left a home in Forest Park later Saturday. Officers say Hayes walk to his Mercedes Benz, pull a gun from his waistband and toss it on the floorboard before getting in the car, Murphy said.
The gun was a Ruger 40-caliber pistol with a 30-round extended magazine, Murphy said.
The three suspects had gone to the Beverly neighborhood early Saturday in two cars, a Jeep and Hayes’ Mercedes, and parked on 104th Street just west of Artesian Avenue. They walked to Brewbakers bar on Western Avenue before leaving and walking into Sean’s Rhino Bar nearby, prosecutors said.
The bar was full, and Golden was inside talking to friends and family. At some point an argument broke out between Krismantis, Harrell, Hayes and several other people inside of the bar, prosecutors said.
It wasn’t clear what sparked the altercation, but Murphy emphasized several times in court that Golden was never part of the fight. He is seen on video “trying to break up the altercation” as Hayes, Harrell and Krismantis run down Western Avenue near 104th Street.
At one point, Golden is seen walking alongside Harrell. ”They are not fighting or arguing,” Murphy said. As the three suspects walked down Artesian Avenue, Hayes begins wrestling with someone from the bar.
Kristmantis then runs to his black Jeep, grabs a gun and hands it to Hayes, Murphy said. ”None of the three defendants are fighting with anybody at this point, and the other witnesses and victims are starting to walk away.”
“Hayes fires the automatic weapon which fires bursts of several bullets at a time,” Murphy said. Investigators recovered 19 40-caliber shell casings.
Attorneys for the three men argued that the case was not a clear-cut as Murphy described, saying it was not known what was said to the suspects inside the bar and during the fight.
But Judge Charles Beach denied their requests for bail.
As the suspects appeared in court, Golden’s family posted in a GoFundMe appeal that the officer saved lives by intervening. “He did what all good cops would do and tried to break up a fight by separating the men and saving further harm for all involved,” the post reads.
“Look no further if you want to know what service looks like,” it continues. “He’s the son of a CPD detective and an ER nurse, the second of seven children, and honorably served as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Danny joined the Chicago Police Department as a third-generation Chicago police officer.”
In a message to friend, the family said “it’s a true miracle that he’s alive … He is coherent and remembers everything, just in a lot of pain. Please keep your prayers coming for him, his fiancé, and his family!!”
Harrell, Hayes and Krismantis are each due back in court July 22.