On Monday, a cannabis store security guard shot and killed a man who attacked him with an axe.
The fatal incident took place at Zen Leaf dispensary in Greektown. According to witnesses, the man was an “unhappy customer,” CBS Chicago reported. The store's owners say the attack was not part of a robbery.
During the attack, the man struck the security guard in the leg with the axe. The 37-year-old security guard responded by shooting the man. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County, where the axe-attacker was later pronounced dead.
The security guard is reportedly in good condition and is expected to recover from his injury.
Zen Leaf issued a statement on Monday announcing the store would be closed for the remainder of the police investigation.
"They're all good people, man,” witness Schuyler Valentino told CBS Chicago. “Anytime I say hello to anybody there, they're very personable nice people; really down to earth, and the security guards are also good people.”
The attack, ironically, harkens back to a common myth spread during Harry Anslinger’s Reefer Madness in the 1930s. At that time, Harry Anslinger, who was head of America’s drug enforcement bureau, claimed cannabis consumption caused Black and Mexican men to murder people specifically with axes. The claims were utterly unfounded and were part of a larger campaign to criminalize cannabis using racist arguments.
The axe attack in Chicago is the first — and only — documented axe attack to take place at a dispensary. Meanwhile, millions of other cannabis consumers have peacefully gone about their lives without swinging a single axe at another person.
Cover image via