Chicago cabbie shoots, wounds carjacker

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

I don’t know whether or not the cabbie’s employer has any policies about carrying on the job, but the Chicago cab driver who shot a would-be carjacker on Thursday night in the city’s Austin neighborhood was legally in possession of the gun he used in self-defense.

About 6:30 p.m., a man was driving a red Mitsubishi for a taxi service when he was called to the 5400 block of West Van Buren Street, Chicago police said.

Three males entered his vehicle, and one pulled out a handgun and demanded the 30-year-old driver’s car, police said.

The driver then shot the man, 30, striking him in the forearm and hip, police said. The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition, police said.

The two uninjured carjackers took off running after the cabbie defended himself, and police say one suspect was apprehended a short time later.

According to the website CWB Chicago, carjackings are once again on the rise in Chicago after the city saw some modest improvements in the first two months of the year.

CPD recorded 71 hijackings during the first 16 days of March, a 58% increase from last year. There were 27 cases during the first 16 days of March 2020.

Citywide, there have been 371 cases recorded this year through March 16, down slightly from 387 last year. There were 168 hijackings through March 16, 2020, and 95 in 2019. If March’s carjacking pace continues, the city will see a year-over-year increase in hijackings by the end of the month.

But the city’s Violence Reduction Dashboard, which reflects more current data through March 22, shows 462 carjacking victimizations this year, up one from the same period last year. “Victimizations” is a slightly different measure, counting the number of victims in the hijacked vehicles rather than the number of vehicles taken.

It boggles my mind that Chicago is the city that New York Mayor Eric Adams is looking to for inspiration in terms of combatting violent crime, given that not only are carjackings at historic highs, but homicides are once again on pace to surpass more than 750 murders this year. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Austin neighborhood where the cab driver defended his life on Thursday night has seen the most homicides this year, with nine reported through March 18th.

Thankfully the cab driver wasn’t homicide number ten, though tragically another victim of a carjacking was shot and killed just a few hours later, and only a few miles away from the scene of the defensive gun use.

A man was shot and killed in a carjacking attempt in the city’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Chicago police said a gunman approached the 38-year-old, who was a passenger in a car, on the 3100 block of North Mango Street around 3 a.m. Friday demanded the vehicle, and fired shots.

The man was shot on his right shoulder and taken to Community First Hospital in critical condition. He later died from his injuries.

The odds of any given Chicago resident becoming the victim of a violent crime on any given day are slim, but the fact remains that multiple times a day violent criminals are robbing, assaulting, and injuring law-abiding citizens who are just trying to get home from work, or the store, or even taking their kids to the park. Most Chicagoans will never need to use a gun in self-defense, but then again, there’s also no way of ensuring that any particular individual will never become the target of a violent predator. Some folks may be perfectly comfortable going gun-free in the city of Chicago, but I wouldn’t set foot outside my home or get behind the wheel of my car unless I knew that had the means to defend my life if necessary.