Attorney: Bears’ Johnson not responsible in shooting
Authorities have twice interviewed Bears lineman Terry “Tank” Johnson following the fatal shooting of Johnson’s bodyguard at a North Side nightclub where both men spent early Saturday morning, police said.
Willie Posey, 26, was shot once and found lying inside the Ice Bar, 738 N. Clark St., in the trendy River North neighborhood just after 1:30 a.m., said police spokeswoman Monique Bond.
Johnson’s attorney held a brief news conference this afternoon after the Bears star was re-interviewed by Chicago police at his Gurnee home. Johnson had been interviewed earlier in Chicago after the shooting. He is not considered a suspect in the shooting, police said.
“Tank Johnson had no direct responsibility for this tragic shooting,” attorney Thomas Briscoe said. “He has cooperated with Chicago police and continues to cooperate this afternoon. At the request of the Chicago Police Department, we’re not going to discuss details so as not to compromise the investigation.”
Chicago Police Supt. Philip Cline said a fight broke out before the shooting took place at 1:30 a.m. Saturday and it appears only one shot was fired. The round struck Posey in the left shoulder and traveled into his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital a short time later.
Cline said he did not have details on what caused the fight to break out but a team source said police told the team that Johnson was not involved in the incident that sparked the shooting.
“We are right in the middle of this thing. So I am not going to talk about what witnesses have said,” Cline explained. He said the department continues to interview witnesses and that there have been no arrests.
Briscoe said Johnson and Posey had been friends for at least 10 years, since high school in Tempe, Ariz. Posey was staying with Johnson “but was in the process of moving out.”
Johnson, 25, and Posey were charged Thursday after police raided Johnson’s Gurnee home and found six guns, some of which were loaded and laying in plain view. The Bears have benched Johnson for Sunday’s game.
Johnson was charged with six misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a weapon without a Firearm Owner’s Identification card. The weapons seized during the raid included a .44 magnum Smith & Wesson revolver, a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, a .45 caliber handgun, a .308 caliber Winchester rifle and two assault-style rifles–a Colt AR-15 and a .223 caliber.
Posey, who listed the same Gurnee address as his home, was charged with felony possession of marijuana. Police said they found more than 2 ounces of marijuana on a table where Posey was sitting.
When asked why Johnson was partying at a nightclub less than 36 hours after his arrest, his attorney answered, “I can’t comment on that.”
Briscoe said Johnson has spoken to Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo and Bobby Howard, the team’s director of player development. He said Johnson is concerned about the shooting’s possible impact on his status with the team.
“Of course he’s worried about that. He’s worried about his two families, his first family being his two daughters and his second family being the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bear fans. He’s very concerned that people are going to get the idea that he has let them down.”
The Bears issued a statement Saturday that they were aware of the shooting, but didn’t mention Johnson by name. “We are currently gathering information to learn more about the situation,” the statement said.
The Bears had a brief “walkthrough” practice Saturday morning, their final preparation for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field. The team’s Halas Hall training facility in Lake Forest was under tight security and no visitors or news media representatives were allowed on the grounds.
Johnson’s attorney said the lineman is heartbroken about the loss of his friend.
“He’s going through a tough grieving process. He’s getting hundreds of phone calls from friends and supporters. And he needs some quiet time. He is confused because everything happened so quickly,” Briscoe said