Illinois man charged with attempted murder after firing gun at truckers

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Updated Jan 28, 2018
Charles S. JohnstonCharles S. Johnston

A college professor from Illinois who allegedly fired a gun at truck drivers and police in Iowa earlier this month has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Davenport, Iowa-based newspaper Quad-City Times reports that an application for a search warrant states the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office received reports on the afternoon of Jan. 11 of a person shooting at vehicles along I-80, then reports came from the Atalissa, Iowa, Pilot truck stop that shots were being fired.

Additionally, the warrant states a trucker was pulling out of the Pilot when a Volkswagen pulled in. The driver of the VW, later identified as Charles S. Johnston, pointed a handgun out the window and began firing at the trucker. Johnston reportedly circled around the truck to the passenger side, and the trucker swerved to pin the car under the trailer. Johnston then allegedly fired more shots into the passenger door of the truck.

The Iowa State Patrol then arrived on scene, according to the report, and Johnston allegedly fired two shots at the trooper’s car. Neither the trucker nor the police officer were injured in the shooting.

The warrant states 60-year-old Johnston told police he had become “enraged or obsessed over a family that was killed in an accident with a semi and that the motive behind his actions was to harm a truck driver or truck drivers in retaliation.”

Johnston, of Belvidere, Ill., who was a psychology professor at Harper College in Palatine, Ill., had also reportedly been taking several prescription drugs and had recently been hospitalized when he fired at the truckers and police on Jan. 11 along I-80 near Atalissa, Iowa, according to the report.

Johnston is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.