CHICAGO — A Jordanian man who has been on the lam for more than 30 years was arrested Friday at O'Hare International Airport after authorities were tipped off he was returning to Chicago.
Ata Yousef El Ammouri owned a store in the 500 block of East 67th Street, and is accused of shooting and killing Joe Harris, 31, on the morning of July 22, 1979 after Harris walked out of the store without paying for a can of beer, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a news release.
El Ammouri was charged with murder, posted $100,000 bail and never showed for court hearings. Authorities at the time said El Ammouri fled the country to avoid prosecution.
El Ammouri, 65, was arrested at about 5 p.m. after he arrived from his home country of Jordan to attend a graduation, the sheriff's office said. He was wanted on charges of murder and jumping bail.
“Today’s capture of Ata Yousef El Ammouri should send a message that the simple passage of time does not eradicate our commitment to bringing fugitives to justice,” Dart said.
The U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service coordinated with federal and local law enforcement to track down El Ammouri, the release said. Agencies involved included the sheriff's office, the Cook County State's Attorney's office, the State Department, Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, the U.S. Marshal's Service, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department.
El Ammouri appeared in bond court Saturday and was ordered held without bond. His next scheduled court appearance is Monday.