SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Fort Stewart soldier is facing charges after his violent outburst near a local mall went viral online.
As of now, Chance Johnson is still in military custody, but News 3 is learning more about his history.
Edward Catanese considers Johnson a longtime friend. He said the woman Johnson is seen hurting in the video is his wife.
Catanese tells News 3 he’s been in contact with her and both are working to get the soldier the help he needs.
The former tank commander said he was speechless when he first saw the video: “I was in utter shock and sad.”
He said Johnson’s wife was the one who sent him the video.
“She reached out to me and asked me to help her find an attorney, and I am trying to just help her in any way that I can,” said Catanese. “She had said, ‘I don’t want to press any charges against him, I love him, I want to help him.'”
Catanese, who is no longer active duty, said he met Johnson back in 2015. When he was a tank commander in the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Johnson served as his loader.
“Not only an excellent solider but consistently excellent for me doing his job,” said Catanese of Johnson. “Just doing exactly what he’s supposed to do without any issues, no issues of anger or anything.”
Catanese says while serving overseas Johnson excelled, eventually getting promoted.
“I know he re-enlisted or re-enlisted to stay there because of a bonus, and I feel like it may not have been the best decision for him mentally,” said Catanese. “The leadership wasn’t checking on him I guess so I don’t know why. I know soldiers are supposed to be checked on.”
When Catanese left the Army in 2018, he and Johnson stayed in touch, until recently.
“He wasn’t always a bad soldier something happened to him, so yeah, they are doing what they’ve got to do,” said Catanese. “But, something tells me they didn’t do their job and protect soldiers as they should.”
Fort Stewart officials say Johnson is facing at least five charges including disorderly conduct and domestic violence.