65-Year-Old City Man Acted in Self-Defense in Killing, Wounding of Teens, DA Says

Reading Eagle, January 27, 2012

A 65-year-old Reading man who was riding his bicycle was justified in shooting two teens—one fatally—who tried to rob him on a Schuylkill River trail as part of a crime spree, the Berks County district attorney said Thursday.

The teens, age 16 and 15, and another 15-year-old boy skipped school Wednesday and robbed two pedestrians in West Reading before they attacked the man as he rode on the Thun Trail in Cumru Township at 11 a.m., police said.

The man, whose name authorities withheld, will not be charged for shooting the teens because he acted in self-defense, which is legal under Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine, District Attorney John T. Adams said.

“While I don’t condone violence, the bike rider had no choice,” Adams said. “It was justifiable homicide.”

Julius Johnson, 16, of Reading was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday morning after he was shot in his chest with a handgun, officials said.


The 15-year-old shot in the neck remained in Reading Hospital on Thursday, officials said. Information about his medical condition could not be obtained. Police did not release his name because he has not been charged.

The third teen, Michael Gonzalez, 15, address unavailable, was charged with robbery, aggravated assault and related offenses and committed to the county youth center in Bern Township.


Adams gave this account:

Johnson was on probation for previous offenses. Juvenile probation officers had gone to his Oakbrook residence earlier Wednesday and found the three teens playing video games.

They told the two 15-year-olds to leave. The officers put an electronic monitoring device on Johnson’s ankle, ordered him to stay home and report to their office with his parents at 4 p.m.

Instead, the three met up and decided to jump and rob random victims.

They first robbed an elderly man in West Reading shortly after 10 a.m., taking money from his pockets, then tried to rob another man in West Reading, kneeing him in the stomach and pushing him to the ground. Neither man was hurt.

The bike rider was on the trail between Reading and West Reading.

As he rode past the teens, the 15-year-old whose name was not released punched the man in the face, knocking him from his bike. Johnson ran and kicked the man, who was sitting against a chain-link fence along the trail.

As one of the teens ran toward the man, he shot Johnson and the 15-year-old.


The teens weren’t armed, but the shootings were legal because the man was unable to escape, thought his life was in danger and had a permit to carry his gun, Adams said.

The man told investigators: “I was scared for my life. I was in big trouble. If I could have kept my bike on the trail, I would have gotten out of there.”


Adams did not know if Johnson’s monitoring device had GPS tracking capabilities or if it simply triggered an alarm when he left his home. Adams said juvenile probation officers acted appropriately.


Adams said he has heard from many people in the community that the bicyclist was a hero for successfully defending himself.

“When your life is in danger, you have no choice but to use deadly force,” he said.


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  • Recall that Bernhardt Goetz defended himself . . . and was  successfully sued for $500 million.

    • Anonymous

      goetz is alive and healthy and owns an electronics store whereas at least one of his attackers is paralyzed and in a wheelchair so whatever

      • Eugene,

        An attacker takes a chance of being Paralyzed when they choose to attack.  Don’t be a softie now!

        p.s.  I’m still calling Texas Legislatures.  Alot to be said and alot of people to call.

        I started with the Texas Department of Public Safety and was repeatedly told that the race descriptions were due to “various reasons” and not once did they tell me what those “various reasons” are and then was promptly hung up on when I called their “reasons” Pure Unadulterated Hate for and Racism against The White Man.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  She refused to answer my questions.

        I then called the Texas Attorney General and was told, they are the Attorney for the State’s Public Agencies but I could’ve sworn they were supposed to uphold the Law but the were sympathetic.

        At any rate, working my through. Please help me to remind poeple to call and complain about that mislabeling.

        It’s insulting, discriminatory, hateful, racist and must be dealt with! They need to hear from a good number of us!

        • Anonymous

          you misunderstood my comment. he was criticizing bernie for defending himself and i was making the point that bernie was right to defend himself even if he got sued. i just feel its unfortunate he only injured the one because the other three went on to rape and commit armed robbery for the next 25 years after the shooting.

          • I was just trying to kid ya.  I really do suck at writing humor.  It always goes over like a Lead Balloon.

            I hear ya and I understand.  I’m with ya.

    • It’s still worth it.  I am very sorry about this Man losing his money but to look at it one way, it (money) wouldn’t have done him any good being Dead.

      I don’t mean to be crass but unless his Life sucks to the point of Death being better, the money can be replaced.  No, not to anywhere close, I know this but it can be replaced.

      • Patriot

        Did you ever stop and think about why slave owners kept slaves in chains? Are you really that gullible? 

        • What?

          Blacks sold their own People and a Black Slave Owner (Anthony Johnson) made “Slavery” possible here.

          What are you talking about?

          gullible – I sure hope not!

          slaves in chains – My guess is:  To keep them in control of course!  It never was a secret before Today that is, that non-whites never were meant to be Free.

          They must be helped.  Sometimes, providing Structure for others is Good.  Good for them and everyone around them.

          • Anonymous

            A lot of free blacks owned slaves. But you won’t find that in your child’s history book.

      • Anonymous

        i think i will start on constructing a marble bust of bernie to place on top of my piano

  • Anonymous

    There was a story on our local news this morning about the record number of gun and CCW permits being issued in our state, and the extraordinary numbers of people who are “packing heat”, most of them being women, and as soon as I find a CCW class that’s not full all the time, I’ll be among them.. I hope all the little thugs watching took heed, because most of us have had enough.

    • Anonymous

      you have to take a class to learn how to buy a pistol and put it in your pocket? this is why whites are getting beatdowns constantly. do you think laornvontious jackson takes a class before he buys his fo five and searches for a white person to rob?

      • I would definitely recommend it, even if your state doesn’t require it, just so you know you’re state’s self-defense laws and deadly use of force laws if nothing else.

        • Anonymous

          i am not scared of the law. i am not scared of the police. i am not scared of being arrested. i am not scared of going to jail. i am not scared of going to prison and i am not scared to defend myself.

      • Anonymous

        To carry it on your person legally you do, in the state of NC anyway. It’s more of a safety class or so I’ve heard that lasts about 8 hours.

        The teens weren’t armed, but the shootings were legal because the man was unable to escape, thought his life was in danger and had a permit to carry his gun, Adams said.

        Seriously, what do you think would have happened to this poor old man had HE not had his permit to carry? I’ll just stick to the rules. No use giving them an excuse to charge you with anything.

        • Anonymous

          i am not scared of the law. i am not scared of the police. i am not
          scared of being arrested. i am not scared of going to jail. i am not
          scared of going to prison i am not scared of prosecutors i am not scared of anything and i am not scared to defend myself.

  • Johnson was on probation for previous offenses. Juvenile probation
    officers had gone to his Oakbrook residence earlier Wednesday and found
    the three teens playing video games.

    Where was this wonderful probation officer after that?  When they say “close supervision in probation,” you can insert the laugh tracks right there.

  • Anonymous

    this is an increasing trend mexicans teaming with blacks in groups to attack lone whites

  • Anonymous

    I moved near Reading to get away from the diversity of Washington DC.  Looks like I didn’t move far enough.  I’ve biked with my family on that trail.

    • carry a gun next time

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting to me how already by midday the State of Pennsylvania had spent around a few  hundred dollars trying to intervene in the lives of these kids, adding to a tab that was probably already considerable (especially Johnson’s). Several hundred dollars spent with the end result of three innocent people assaulted violently.

    What this tells me is that the situation is fairly hopeless. We can have special police forces monitoring what black teen males are doing on a daily, almost hourly basis and we still can’t protect ourselves from them.

    There are two possible conclusions I draw from this:

    1) Special juvenile police are never going to be enough to counter what’s taught at home. Children are naturally good-hearted and want to learn. They have to be taught to hate learning, and they have to be taught to go on violent crime sprees where members of different races are targetted as victims.

    Black criminality won’t end until blacks stop teaching it to their kids.


    2) Blacks are by their nature prone to criminality. I would much rather believe that #1 is the case, if only because #2 is  depressing and doesn’t offer much hope.

  • Anonymous

    The only way these cocky, dumb, young thugs will ever stop bullying elderly Whites is if they are ‘taught a lesson’ every now and then.
     Although generally dumb, young and cocky to the point of arrogance, these thugs have the intelligence never to dare to tease dangerous wild animals, as they know they’d be conseqences to pay.
     They will only stop attacking elderly Whites if the similarly a potential price is to be paid – and that price might well be death.

  • Anonymous

    That part of Pennsylvannia is being reconquistaed by Mexicans.

    • No, it’s been a PR area for some time, as it’s a good pickup point for the NYC drug trade. I initially thought all the perps were PR’s, as there are so many PR gangs in Reading.

  • sarah stein

    Too bad Pennsylvania doesn’t have the felony murder rule, I’d like to see the surviving thugs go to jail for murder. 

  • Thoughtcrime1933

    To this day…not a penny. And he better not.

  • This is why all AmReners — and their family & friends — should be members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), esp their Institute for Legislative Affairs. They should also support the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). 

    The NRA-ILA has pushed thru Shall Issue over the past 25 yrs so that now, in 41 states, law-abiding residents can legally carry for self-defense:  

    SAF will probably win Shall Issue via the federal courts for all 50 states by 2013 July 4. 

    The NRA-ILA has also pushed their expanded their model “Castle Doctrine” law thru 30 state legislatures, and it is being debated in VA and NB as we speak.

    It provides for, among other things, that if the Good Guy (GG) shooter is not convicted of a crime in shooting, the “victim” (acc to the MSM, “BG”/Bad Guy to us), or his survivors are barred from filing a civil lawsuit against the GG. Details at: 

    This is why this PA bike rider could carry outside of home, shoot the BGs w/o retreating, and yet not worry about defending himself against a ruinous civil lawsuit that could bankrupt him.

    So, while Shall Issue Right-to-Carry is essential, passing the expanded Castle Doctrine law is vital to keeping you from being victimized a 2nd time by the BG or his survivors. 

    • Nope, no financial or other vested interest, other than being a NRA member. 

      All law-abiding people should carry. We have got to declare war on criminals, esp violent criminals. Too many law-abiding people’s lives have been knocked off track due to muggings, rapes, robberies, and murders, either of themselves or family/friends. One of the worst things people don’t like about blacks and Latinos is the higher rates of crime, esp violent crime, that comes w/them. One of the main things that makes Asians the “model minority” is that they don’t bring violent crime with them.As a law-abiding white guy living in CA, my top anti-crime public policy priority is getting CA to go Shall Issue (via the fed courts). We should win it within a year and a half.Unfortunately, we won’t be able to get the expanded Castle Doctrine w/immunity from civil lawsuits via the federal courts using the 2nd Amendment. That will require passage in legislature and that is unlikely to happen for at least 5 years after winning Shall Issue.So my next top anti-crime priority is supporting the death penalty, expanding its use, and reducing the appeals bottleneck. Dr. John Lott has published research showing how use of the death penalty causes reduced violent crime rates. The appeals bottleneck in CA is caused by a shortage of public defenders qualified for death penalty cases. Why the shortage?  Because liberal state legislators under fund them (i.e., won’t pay them what they could earn in private legal practice). Why do they do that? To drag out the appeals process so that they can then claim: (1) that being on death row for years is “cruel and unusual punishment” (thus unconstitutional), and (2) that death penalty cases w/their appeals cost more than a life in prison sentence. This is typical statist political maneuvering: cause a problem, and then use the problem to call for getting what you really want (often more power). Because statists are truly EVIL, they want cessation of the death penalty (executing the guilty), while they push for abortion & euthanasia (murder of the innocent).

  • Anonymous

    but the shootings were legal because the man was unable to escape

    This has been repeated several times by the police and the media. Pennsylvania passed a Castle Doctrine last year which states citizens can protect themselves in their homes AND in public and I thought it also meant they are NOT obligated to try and flee, similar to a Stand Your Ground law.

    If that is the case WHY are the authorities suggesting this man should have tried to run away when he was in fear for his life?  To intimidate the honest citizens and make them fearful of prosecution should they protect themselves? Telling people they have to run away from a deadly threat even after they have got the upper hand is likely to get them killed, sheesh at that point if anyone is going to turn and run it should be the attacker, suggesting the citizen should turn their back or give up their position could be suicide.

  • Central Florida has been overrun with Puerto Ricans starting around 1996. Their social pathologies are virtually identical to blacks’, though not to the same degree (yet). So it isn’t surprising that blacks and PRs would gang up together. Mexicans, OTOH, loathe blacks and are actively cleansing them from SoCal.

  • Well, we have fake conservative Michael Smirconish on  Philly’s 1210 AM saying the BP incident never really happened, as it took place in a black district.