Gun charge, but nothing more, for man who allegedly shot a CTA bus passenger while killing another man in ‘self-defense’

Chicago police say they know who fatally shot a man outside a South Side liquor store and shot a woman who was sitting on a nearby CTA bus in December. But prosecutors refused to charge the suspect with shooting either person due to “self-defense,” according to court records and the man’s defense attorney.

Instead, Juan Ferba, 26, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm — the gun officials say video footage shows him using to shoot both people.

Juan Ferba and the shooting location. | Cook County sheriff’s office; Google

Chicago police arrested Ferba on Tuesday with plans to charge him with murder and attempted murder, according to a CPD arrest report. But a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office “rejected the first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charge for self-defense,” a police supervisor wrote in the report.

During a bail hearing on the gun charge on Wednesday, prosecutors said surveillance video showed Ferba, a witness, and the man who would be killed, Kristopher Willett, arriving at a liquor store near 79th Street and Cottage Grove around 3:09 p.m. on December 7.

As Willett exited Happy Food and Liquor, Ferba appeared to make a comment to Willett and then drew a gun, prosecutors said. Willett pulled out a firearm simultaneously, and, with video cameras recording, Ferba fired between 14 and 19 shots, striking Willett in the head three times, prosecutors said during the hearing.

A 21-year-old woman seated inside a nearby CTA bus was shot in her hand, officials said. Video aired by ABC7 on the night of the shooting showed at least four bullet holes in the bus windows.

But Ferba’s defense attorney reminded Judge Susana Ortiz that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office refused to charge him with any wrongdoing related to the shooting allegations.

“They allege he had a firearm, but there’s no indication it was ever found in his possession,” the lawyer argued.

After confirming that Ferba was not facing any charges other than gun possession, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered him to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring. He is due in court again on January 18.

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