Parents who turned their children in to police after seeing their faces in surveillance photos released in connection with the attempted robbery that sent a woman running onto Lake Shore Drive before she was fatally hit by a car say they don't believe their children are guilty in the crime.
As many as seven people have walked in to police stations for questioning since Tuesday night and while police say no charges were filed as of Wednesday afternoon, they continue to question them.
The young men started turning themselves in after relatives spotted them in surveillance photos released following the death of 32-year-old Pamela Johnson.
Johnson was among two people chased onto Lake Shore Drive while running for help during an attempted robbery over the weekend. During the chase, Johnson was fatally struck by a pickup truck on the roadway. Her boyfriend, who was with her at the time, was also hit but survived.
"He's a good kid, he goes to school every day," said parent Cornell Bullock, whose son was in police custody Wednesday. "He was just following the wrong crowd, being a follower that's all it was."
Other family members have also claimed that while their kids were at the scene, they weren't involved in the robbery.
"We thought he was innocent the whole time," she said. "That's why we hurry up and brought him down. We knew he was."
Clarr said her nephew and several others were at the scene when Johnson was hit, but claimed another group tried to rob the couple.
"Ain't nobody try to rob none of them," said April Jessup, whose boyfriend was at the scene and also in police custody Wednesday. "They got on the train and they must have gotten a picture of them on the train. They're all telling us they didn't do nothing."
Community activist Andrew Holmes, who is close to the investigation and related to the victim, said he spoke with at least one parent who reached out after seeing their child’s face in the photos. Holmes accompanied the teen and the family to police headquarters Tuesday evening where they were expected to be questioned by investigators.
Police could not immediately confirm information related to the questioning, but said multiple people have turned themselves in for questioning in the case.
It is not clear what role, if any, the teens had in the alleged incident.
The surveillance photos were released Monday and more photos released Tuesday. Police said the attack may have involved up to eight men.
The suspects were described as being between the ages of 18 and 25.
“We’re asking parents to step up and they’re stepping up,” Holmes said. “Everybody has to come together to be on the same page. Everything must stop in this city and if we don’t put our foot down and help them, it’ll keep going on like a revolving door.”
Anyone who recognizes the suspects in the photos is being asked to call Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8380. Those looking to make anonymous tips can also call (800) 883-5587.