Chicago-area legislator carjacked, husband shoots at attackers

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

I started out today discussing the carjacking of Pennsylvania congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon getting carjacked in Philadelphia, so it’s strangely fitting that my last story of the day involves another Democratic politician becoming the victim of violent carjackers.

The carjacking of Illinois state Sen. Kimberly Lightford in the Chicago suburbs bears some similarities to Scanlon’s carjacking in Philadelphia, but there are also some striking differences, starting with the fact that the carjackers in Broadview, Illinois were met with an armed response thanks to Lightford’s husband.

Police said three men driving a Durango took a black Mercedez Benz SUV that belonged to Lightford, police said. The state senate majority leader said she was dropping off a friend at the time.

“Three guys just hopped out with guns and they demanded that we get out of the car and they put my husband on the ground,” said Lightford. “They had me over on the other side. I begged them not to shoot us and I begged them not to shoot my husband and not to shoot me.”

Lightford said her husband has a concealed carry permit and exchanged gunfire with the three suspects after telling her to run.

No was injured in the shooting, according to police.

The suspects took off in both the senator’s car and in the Durango, police said.

So far no suspects have been arrested in the case, and with the clearance rate for carjackings in Chicago running around 15% as of this past summer, there’s a good chance that the only consequence the suspects will ever face were the shots fired by one of their intended victims.

The CBS affiliate in Chicago has been keeping track of carjackings in the city, and it’s not hard to pinpoint when incidents started soaring.

It’s clear that the initial increase began right around the time of the first COVID-based lockdowns and has only gotten worse since then, despite seasonal declines in February and March of this year. Last month there were at least 200 carjackings reported in Chicago, and the surrounding suburbs have been home to dozens of other attempts and successful robberies.

If past trends hold, we may see a dip in the number of carjackings over the next couple of months, but it’s not likely to be a long-lasting decline. And with carjackers increasingly willing to pull the trigger and shoot their intended victims, I can’t help but think that there are a lot of Chicago residents who are thinking long and hard about having a gun of their own to protect themselves.

Chicago man with pending gun cases was arrested earlier this month after carjacking a driver at gunpoint, and later told police that he murdered another robbery victim, according to a local report.

Julius Flowers, 23, and Isaiah Walker, 22, were both ordered to be held without bail in connection to a carjacking in West Rogers Park on the city’s North Side around 6 a.m. on Dec. 1, CWB Chicago reported.

Assistant State’s Attorney Morgan Muslin said that a gunman was wearing a ski mask when he walked up to the 47-year-old victim’s car, opened the driver-side door and brandished a handgun with extended ammunition, according to the report.

The gunman ordered the victim to “get out of the f—— car,” Muslin said. When the victim struggled with his seatbelt, authorities said the gunman pulled him out and struck him in the head.

I know, I know. “Extended ammunition.” While Chicago reporters have plenty of experience covering violent crime, it’s clear that some of them could use a course in firearm terminology, if not actual firearm training.

Prosecutors said that Flowers told police during a recorded interview that he shot and killed a victim in a previous robbery, the report said. So far, Flowers has not been charged in any such incident.

Flowers, who has two gun cases pending in Lake County, was charged with vehicular hijacking, armed robbery with a firearm, and robbery.

Walker was charged with vehicular hijacking and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

The dysfunction in Chicago’s criminal justice system is having deadly consequences, but as long as Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is handling violent felony cases we’re not likely to see any real improvement, especially with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s insistence that the way to a safer city involves subjecting more responsible citizens to even more restrictions on their right to keep and bear arms.

I do hope, however, that Sen. Lightford’s harrowing experience has given her a new appreciation for the right to bear arms in self-defense. With would-be gun owners still waiting for four months or more before receiving their government-mandated permission slip to simply own a firearm (with another three-month wait, on average, for their concealed carry license), it would be great to see Lightford call for the repeal of the state’s FOID statute; recognizing that the state’s laws are doing a good job of keeping responsible residents disarmed, but aren’t doing a damn thing to stop guys like the trio who robbed her and her husband on Wednesday evening.