Musician says he bears no ill will toward woman charged in his attack: ‘I just don’t have enough time to feel that’

Woman allegedly tried to shove Red Line musician onto tracks before stabbing him: prosecutors

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Police are conducting a death investigation after a man died May, 3, 2021 pinned between a CTA train and the platform.

Charges have been filed against a woman who allegedly stabbed a street musician Feb. 4, 2020, on a CTA Red Line platform in the Loop.

Sun-Times file photo

Street musician Mike Malinowski said he doesn’t want to walk around with hate in his heart toward the woman who allegedly attacked him with a steak knife Tuesday while he was performing on a downtown CTA platform, destroying his guitar and nearly pushing him onto the L tracks.

“After a close death experience like that, I just don’t have enough time to feel that. I’m just here to have a good time, man,” he said.

Barbara Johnson, 38, who has a history of mental illness, faces two felony counts of aggravated battery and a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property in connection to the stabbing at the Red Line platform at Jackson.

Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz cited Johnson’s extensive felony background, which includes convictions for resisting arrest and battery to an officer, when denying her bail.

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson

Chicago police

The attack began about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when Johnson, who did not know the performer, approached him and unplugged his guitar amplifier, prosecutors said.

“Never met this person in my life and I’ve been playing down there many years,” Malinowski said. “She just appeared.”

Johnson allegedly shoved him toward the tracks, nearly pushing him over the edge, and punched him several times, prosecutors said.

He eventually got away, but she allegedly chased and stabbed him in the arm with a steak knife, prosecutors said. Johnson then threw his amplifier and guitar onto the tracks, prosecutors said.

Chicago police said the 26-year-old performer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition.

Johnson was arrested by officers at the station and was identified by witnesses and the victim, prosecutors said.

Her public defender said she has a history of mental health illnesses, is a life-long Chicago resident and attends St. Sabina Church.

Johnson is due back in court Feb. 11.

Malinowski, whose stage name is “Machete Mike,” said he cannot play guitar at all because of his injuries.

“I can’t carry an amp. I can barely do a G chord right now,” he said. “I hope there’s not gonna be some long extended recovery from this, and I hope there won’t be any permanent damage.”

A woman who identified herself as the street performer’s sister told the Chicago Sun-Times, “The woman who stabbed him also destroyed his only means of work.”

Despite the experience, however, Malinowski chose to see a sliver of humor in the incident.

“The irony of being Machete Mike and being stabbed; Oh my god, what a joke.”

Read more on crime, and track the city’s homicides.

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