LAKEVIEW — A man wearing a ski mask robbed a woman at gunpoint in Lakeview late Tuesday, police and witnesses said.
The attack happened about 10:20 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Lincoln Avenue. According to police, the man pulled a gun, stole the woman's purse and took off in a white van.
No one was in custody as of midday Wednesday.
Galen, a yoga instructor who didn't want her last name used, said she was walking home from a nearby yoga studio when she heard a scuffle on Lincoln Avenue about 10:20 p.m.
"It sounded like footsteps, and I heard something across the street," said Galen, 23. "I look over, and I saw a man sprinting away from a girl carrying, obviously, her bag, wearing a black ski mask on his face."
In the heat of the moment, Galen started chasing the man down the street, yelling for him to stop.
"He started yelling, 'Go, go, go,'" Galen said. "He had a white van waiting for him. It was seriously straight out of 'Law & Order.' It was a white panel van. The only windows were in the front. It was kind of beaten up, dirty, grey-looking."
Galen said she tried to take note of the license plate as the van drove off. A man and woman walking down Lincoln Avenue stopped and wrote down the plate number as well.
Once the van was gone, Galen and several other bystanders rushed to the woman who was robbed and called 911. Galen said the woman, who was probably in her early 20s, was sitting on the sidewalk, visibly shaken.
She told Galen and other witnesses that she'd heard someone running behind her and figured it was a runner. The man grabbed her by the shoulder, she told Galen, put a gun to her head and said, "Let it go. Let it go."
"I didn't realize he had a gun when I was chasing him down the street," Galen said. "It didn't really register to me how crazy my action was until after a few minutes. I was like, 'Oh, my God. What was I thinking?'"
Galen said she sprinted after the man on instinct, hoping to get a license plate number.
"I hope they catch him because that scares the living s--- out of me. I walk [on that street] multiple times a week," she said. "All I could think was: Thank God [the victim] let the purse go."
Galen said police arrived on the scene within minutes.
Several bystanders waited with the victim until police took her statement, Galen said, and the woman's roommates were able to pick her up.
"I have to say: It was a humbling experience to see so many people just crowd around with her for support," Galen said. "For me, it was overwhelmingly good. It was clear evidence that, for even one single act of violence, there is so much goodness to overcome it."
Police weren't able to confirm the victim's age.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: