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‘It just doesn’t feel real:’ Couple visiting from out of town speaks after being beaten during Loop chaos

<i></i><br/>Ashley Knutson and Devonte Johnson were visiting from out of town when they were beaten during Loop chaos.
Lawrence, Nakia

Ashley Knutson and Devonte Johnson were visiting from out of town when they were beaten during Loop chaos.


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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — A couple attacked by a group of teens during the unrest downtown over the weekend said Tuesday that they had to fight for their lives.

The video of the vicious attack near a T-Mobile store on Wabash Avenue has been shared millions of times online.

CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman spoke with the couple – and a woman who jumped in to save them. The couple remains noticeably shaken up – trying to find moments to smile after what they went through.

They were in town from South Carolina, walking in the Loop just trying to find a place to eat.

In seconds, they were cornered and attacked with no way out.

Video shows the group of teens assaulting 20-year-old Ashley Knutson in front of 129 N. Wabash Ave. – across from the Macy’s building – Saturday night. She screams as the group corners her against a set of doors.

Knutson falls to the ground.

“It just doesn’t feel real,” she said. “I can’t believe that happened to us.”

What is not seen in the video is her boyfriend – Devonte Johnson, or DJ – jumping in to try to fend off her attackers.

“It was horrible. It was absolutely horrible,” Knutson said. “I was trying my best to get where he was. I don’t know if I was going to be much help, but I was trying to get to where he was. I couldn’t even see him with all the guys around him.”

In the video, Johnson is on the ground trying to protect himself.

“I tried to defend myself as best I can. I put my back to the wall,” he said. “Either fight or become another statistic in Chicago.”

Johnson now has a black eye, bruised back, and a dislocated shoulder. They say the group threatened to kill them.

The group took their cell phones and shoes.

It was not until Lenora Dennis walked by and saw what was happening that anyone jumped in to help.

“Fifty people converged on them,” Dennis said.

Dennis said multiple police officers drove right by – even when she tried to flag them for help.

“My initial thought was, this isn’t going to end if I don’t get them out of here,” she said.

Dennis took Knutson and Johnson to nearby Macy’s to safety until the crowds cleared out and she could get them to the Central (1st) District police station.

“Who knows what would have happened if it wasn’t for her,” said Johnson.

The couple has not been back downtown yet – but still believe this group of teens was not a reflection of the city as a whole.

“I said I would go back,” said. “I’d just be aware of my surroundings.”

Meanwhile, Dennis had a plea for parents to get involved.

“It takes all of us in order to really enact change in this city – period,” she said.

Since the attack, Knutson said detectives have come to the Maywood Airbnb where they are staying – and have apologized and made sure they are okay.

The couple has filed a police report, but so far, no arrests have been made.

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