Second man charged with murdering restaurant manager during a robbery in the Loop

Chicago — Prosecutors on Friday charged a second man with murdering a restaurant manager in the Loop as the victim returned home from work in September.

Prosecutors said Darnell Rawls, 31, fled to Kentucky after he and his cousin, Anthony, beat, stabbed, and robbed Michael Byrnes on September 6. Anthony Rawls was charged in the case last year.

Byrnes, 41, walked from the West Loop restaurant he managed to the Loop, where he planned to catch a train home shortly before 11 p.m. Before heading up to the platform, Byrnes paused for a few moments, leaning against a wall under the L tracks at LaSalle and Van Buren.

Darnell Rawls (L) a surveillance image of the attackers, and Michael Byrnes. | CPD; Tri-Star Catering

As he did so, the Rawlses allegedly attacked him, punching Byrnes in the face and chest and throwing him to the ground. They continued to attack Byrnes after he was down for about 10 seconds before turning and starting to leave.

After walking a few steps, the men turned around and returned to Byrnes, who was still on the ground. They started attacking him again, dragging him, kicking him, and pulling him. 

Prosecutors said Darnell Rawls held Byrnes’ arms while Anthony Rawls kicked him. Surveillance video allegedly shows Darnell Rawls punching and stabbing at Byrnes while the victim was pinned against a pillar supporting the L tracks.

Chicago police tracked Byrne’s phone and found it lying in an alley behind Rawls’ house. The getaway car was there, too, prosecutors said.  The entire attack, as well as the men’s movements before the crime, was captured on video.

CPD released some of that video to the public. Relatives who saw the footage told police that one of the men was Darnell Rawls and that he fled to Kentucky, prosecutors said.

Authorities arrested Rawls in Kentucky and extradited him to Chicago this week. When he returned to Chicago, police realized he was wearing the same pants one of the attackers wore. Police confronted him about the jeans and the red stains that were visible on them. Rawls then tried to wipe the red marks off, prosecutors alleged.

Rawls is charged with two counts of murder and armed robbery. Judge Maryam Ahmad held him without bail.

You can support CWBChicago’s start-to-finish tracking of court cases by becoming a subscriber.

About CWBChicago 6568 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is