A man who was charged in the assault and robbery of a Beverly teen who suffers from severe health issues more than 10 years ago is now facing federal gun charges.
According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, Micha Eatman, 28, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally possessing a loaded 9-mm semiautomatic pistol last August.
According to the Chicago Police Department, Eatman, of the 9900 block of South Malta Street, was arrested on Aug. 19 on the 6400 block of South Lowe Avenue and charged with unlawful use of a firearm by a felon.
According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Eatman was booked on Aug. 20, and his bail was set at $150,000.
His next court date is April 12.
In 2006, when he was 17, Eatman and two other teens were charged with beating and robbing Ryan Rusch, who was 14, at Beverly Park. Rusch was born with truncus arteriosus, a rare congenital heart defect in which the heart has one large artery to carry blood to the lungs and throughout the body instead of two. The condition has required Rusch to undergo five surgeries, the first when he was 2 months old, the most recent four years ago.
During the attack, Eatman, as well as Clint Eatman and Walter Scales, beat Rush and stole his cellphone. Rusch was left with brain damage that caused learning problems, and he lost some peripheral vision in one eye.
One assailant reportedly said they attacked Rusch because he was a “goofy-looking white boy.”
Some people wanted hate-crime charges to be filed, but that never occurred. Attempted-murder charges were dropped, but Micha Eatman was sentenced to seven years in prison; he was discharged early but arrested again in August 2009. He was convicted on aggravated battery charges and sentenced to three more years.
Rusch, now 24, said last year that he didn’t want to be known as the kid who was assaulted at a local park.
Unable to play organized sports because of his health issues, he served as a football team manager at St. John Fisher Elementary School and St. Rita of Cascia High School.
He also completed college coursework at Butler Community College, in El Dorado, Kansas, Parkland College, in Champaign, and at the University of Alabama.
In recent years, Rusch has raised funds for Mended Little Hearts of Chicago, a non-profit organization that supports families fighting heart issues. Rusch and his mother, Joanne Rusch, have created “bravery bags” for families with youngsters battling heart problems, as well as “angel bags” for families who have lost loved ones.
Rusch has also tried his hand at improvisational comedy at Second City.
Rusch’s mom called him a hero for being able to undergo so many surgeries and keep a positive outlook.
He has a blunt, quick-witted personality, and last year, he encouraged people to take care of their health.
“Check your heart, no matter what,” Rusch said, “if it’s healthy, broken, whatever.”