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Carjacking Attempt Puts West Side Church Building On Lockdown

By Stephanie Lulay | May 18, 2017 2:34pm
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A police car.
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EAST GARFIELD PARK — An attempted carjacking Thursday morning caused a church building on the city's West Side to go on lockdown. 

At about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, a 34-year-old man was exiting his BMW in the 2600 block of West Jackson Boulevard when an unknown man approached him with a gun and demanded the vehicle, according to Officer Michelle Tannehill, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman. 

The victim refused to give the BMW to the man, and he then fled the scene, Tannehill said. No one was injured in the incident, no shots were fired at the scene and police do not have a suspect in custody, police said. 

The incident occurred near the JLM Life Community Center, which is operated by nearby Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. It led the building to go on lockdown, according to one witness.

Regina Hernandez, who is with the Legal Assistance Foundation, was in JLM's basement with about 15 other community organizers and social workers for an annual breakfast meeting Thursday morning when a woman came down the stairs and shut off all the lights in the room.

"She said there was a shooter in the building," Hernandez said. "We jumped into action and helped her lock and barricade the doors." 

Huddled up with another woman, Hernandez said she hid behind a podium in the corner of the room.

By 10:45 a.m., police came to the basement to let them know that it was safe to come out. 

Hernandez said she did not see a man with a gun enter the building and later learned about the carjacking attempt.

"We were all confused, we didn't know what was happening," she said. 

Police said they did not know what caused the building to go on lockdown. 

Pastor Johnny Miller, who leads Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, did not immediately return calls. 

Police did not immediately have a description of the suspect responsible for the carjacking attempt.

Rash of Carjackings

The latest incident follows a number of other carjackings recently reported in the West Loop, West Town, South Loop and on the Near West Side. 

As of Friday, Chicago Police confirmed nine such recent robberies, as well as two unsuccessful attempts.

On Saturday morning, a 47-year-old man was shot by a man in River West who was trying to carjack his vehicle. 

On Tuesday afternoon, a University of Illinois at Chicago faculty member was the victim of a strong-arm carjacking on the UIC Medical Campus, police said. 

Earlier Tuesday morning, a 27-year-old man was shot during a carjacking in the South Loop. 


In another incident, police said carjackers Tuesday used a Jeep (right) to steal a car (left) in the 2200 block of Wabash in the South Loop Tuesday.