A man attacked Pastor Timothy Johnson of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church and his wife, Renee, a special education teacher, on May 1, 2021. The couple was doing yard work for her 95-year-old mother at her South Side Chicago home.
The Chicago Sun–Times reports the attack happened while Mr. Johnson was cleaning up the alley behind his mother-in-law’s house, and a man approached him asking if he’d buy something. After politely declining the attacker, 28-year-old Elijah Rule Hill Prince hit Johnson in the head with the shovel the victim was using to clean up the alley. Prince then, like out of a horror movie, gouged out Mr. Johnson’s eyes with his fingers and took a bite out of his ear and the top of his head.
After hearing the disturbing encounter, Johnson’s wife, Renee, rushed to his side in an attempt to stop the assailant. Prince then pulled her hair, gouged her eyes, and bit off parts of her ears as well. When Mrs. Johnson fell to the ground, Prince kicked her in the head multiple times.
Mr. Johnson was somehow able to call 911 after he pulled out a wooden object that the attacker had shoved in his eye. Prince ran off after someone who saw what was happening yelled at him.
The attacker was later found covered in the victims’ blood and arrested, and he was later admitted to a hospital for psychiatric examination. Judge John F. Lyke Jr. ordered Prince to be held on $5M bail and said the prosecution’s testimony was like “listening to a horror movie.”
“Nobody could have imagined we would wake up on a Saturday and this was going to happen,” their daughter Destinee Johnson said. “My parents’ hearts are so big. My parents’ love is overflowing. We don’t know why this happened, right. But it’s a nightmare, but blessings in it as well.”
Their daughter wrote on her Facebook page:
“I am heartbroken to share this news. This weekend my parents were brutally attacked, what’s in the article is my family’s reality. This is not a dream, this is not a movie, this is not an episode of a crime show–this is our life. I don’t have the words to say, sometimes I don’t have the strength but the strength of my parents keep me going. We do need your prayers. We need your love. But also need some financial support to get through this unbelievable situation. Our lives have been forever changed. Please share. Please donate. Please pray for our family.”
How to Help
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by their children to help cover medical expenses and care for the pastor and his wife’s needs as they recover from this horrific tragedy. In less than three days, the campaign has raised over $109k.