The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has declined to file additional charges against Gary E. Johnson, who was arrested in connection with the fatal Aug. 14 shooting in Evanston of Hamza Hammouis.

Police say Johnson,  26, of 1755 E. 78th St. in Chicago, got into a verbal dispute with Hammouis near the intersection of Howard Street and Chicago Avenue about 2:45 a.m. that day.

Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says, based on accounts from witnesses, it appears the argument escalated into a physical confrontation and during the fight Johnson gained control of a Glock handgun that Hammouis had brought to the scene and fired the gun with a bullet fatally strking Hammouis in the head.

Dugan says it doesn’t appear that the two men knew each other or had had any previous contact. Witnesses apparently didn’t see how the dispute began, so it’s not clear what triggered it.

Dugan says the gun Hammouis was carrying had been legally obtained by a relative.

Hammouis, 25, had recently moved to Chicago from Paris and had gotten married earlier this summer.

Johnson already faces a felony charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon because, police say, he had the gun he’d taken from Hammouis in his possession when he was arrested.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. cold blooded murder

    There were 32  shootings this past weekend in the Chicago area and over 60 the week before. This decision by Kim Foxx does nothing to stem senseless violence. NORTAF and CTA police did a great job in identifying the murderer and then capturing him.  Imagine, days later, when arrested and taken into custody,  Gary Johnson still had the stolen murder weapon on his person. 

    I’m thinking with this approach, the county can save money by eliminating the public defenders office.

    1. What was he supposed to do?
      Leave that handgun on the street with his fingerprints on it, where anybody could take it?

      I say, possession charge is a face-saving stretch. Even felons have a right to self-defense.

        1. Doh!

          Seems like the cure is worse than the disease… I’d take an “involuntary possession” over “evidence destruction in a felony case”. Can’t bring the gun into a police station either – that’s a separate crime.

          By the book, his attorney should have arranged for him to surrender the weapon to a police at the attorney’s office. But that’s too much to ask for from a simple person…

      1. Here’s the obvious answer to your question

        An innocent person acting in self defense should immediately call 911, report the incident, and then stay on the scene while administering aid to the dying man. Putting the gun down also makes a lot of sense, particularly since he is black. His felony background and keeping of the gun suggest that he is familiar enough with guns to unload it, which would be another good idea since there’s already one dying/dead person on the scene. Once the police arrive, he should give them his statement and deal with the consequences of his actions.

      2. Agreed

        It’s going to be a process and an uphill battle but I wholeheartedly agree. Mr. Johnson had a right to defend himself. He’s human and a convicted felon…Hard to not think the worst and that he would would be presumed guilty until proven innocent. Horrible someone lost their life tho.

    2. Howard Street/ Chicago Avenue shooting

      I try very very hard to be honest and fair , etc., with myself before I make a judgement call on MOST things or situations. I admit I do not know all the facts involved  in the above story…. (by the media or the police report).  But I do know and  feel very sad for both of them and their families.  

      It is unfortunate that these two Human Beings / these two young men could not work out their differences without a gun. 

      My poem on  The Colour Fence says…Think Positive /  don’t shoot  / put down your guns / for tomorrow you can think positive—AGAIN!!   CNEF= Founder Madelyn Ducre  

  2. Case that can’t be won?

    Hard to believe that a manslaughter case can’t be made. Perhaps it’s because a reasonable doubt case can be made for self defense, so prosecutor doesn’t think it’s a winnable case. The whole story is very weird. Still, my condolences go to the family of Mr. Hammouis.

    1. Don’t felons have the right to protect themselves?

      This is interesting to me. According to this report, Hamza, who recently arrived from overseas, was in possession of a firearm. He got into some kind of argument and was killed with his own pistol. The other actor in this unfortunate occurrence fled the scene with the gun and was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm because he was arrested with it on his person.
      I don’t know for sure what happened, but, does being a felon forever restrict someone from defending themselves if they were set upon or, otherwise attacked? Should one lay down their life simply because the law says so?
      If they are not going to charge him with murder for the killing they shouldn’t charge him with the weapon, regardless of his prior criminal history.
      Also, if he left the pistol there, one of the other people present might have picked it up and shot him for revenge. He couldn’t just leave it there.
      Now, I might agree with a theft charge for taking the gun without the felony modifier. Simply put, I think the restrictions on people with felonies from forever being barred from owning firearms is problematic because it continually punishes people who have paid their debt to society.

  3. This is a really interesting,

    This is a really interesting, strange story, and I hope there will be some more reporting.  I sort of assume there is more unsaid behind the SA’s decision.  There were witnesses on Hammouis’ side.  I wonder what they may have told the investigators, and how that may have played into the decision.

    I was already wondering about this case after following the facebook links of a previous story on it.  I continue to think there was quite a lot going on here, and that this was not the simple, sad story that I might have assumed from the initial headline and sketch of the facts.  Though certainly a sad story. 

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