The Brooklyn vigilante who fatally rammed his Jeep into a bicyclist who tried to steal the ride insisted to The Post on Wednesday that he never meant to kill the would-be thief.
“I had no intention of killing anyone,” said Korey Johnson said in an interview behind bars at the Brooklyn Detention Complex. “I just wanted to chase him, tackle him. … I feel terrible somebody died.”
Johnson and a female friend confronted Donald Robert, 47, after spotting him trying to crack into multiple cars — including Johnson’s 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee — along Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 6 a.m. Monday, cops have said.
The would-be thief wheeled around wielding a screwdriver in each hand, first attempting a jab at Johnson’s neck, then slashing Johnson’s friend across the arm with one of the tools, said Johnson.
Robert then reached his hands behind his back, sparking fear in Johnson that he was reaching for a gun.
“I was terrified for my life,” said Johnson, a 41-year-old father of three daughters, while dressed in a brown prison jumpsuit Wednesday.
But Robert — who had 38 lifetime arrests — instead hopped on his bike and pedaled off.
Knowing that he would never catch Robert on foot, Johnson said he hopped into his Jeep and took off after him.
“I didn’t want him to get away,” said Johnson, a ConEd mechanic who said his car had been broken into before, and feared that the thief may have taken his tools or his daughter’s birth certificate, which was in the car.
Johnson — who has 40 prior arrests of his own — jumped into his Jeep and floored it after the fleeing cyclist, he said.
Johnson claimed that he immediately noticed his car seemed not to be handling properly, and that the car “lost control” and hit Robert unintentionally.
“Does the video look like I was going fast?” he asked of a surveillance clip of the wild moment of collision, which crushed Robert against a row of parked cars and sent the Jeep skidding onto its side.
As Johnson emerged from his wrecked Jeep, he said he still thought that Robert wasn’t that seriously injured, as he saw no blood.
“I said, ‘I got you! The police are coming,’” recalled Johnson, noting that he tapped Robert’s shoulder with his foot.
“I didn’t think he was going to die,” he insisted. “Then I heard the police say DOA.”
First responders pronounced Robert dead on the scene from massive blunt-force trauma, officials have said.
Johnson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder and manslaughter for his alleged act of vigilante justice.
“It was not my intention to kill anyone,” he repeated throughout Wednesday’s interview.
Additional reporting by Aaron Feis
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