WEST TOWN — A 50-year-old woman was punched in the face and suffered a fractured jaw when a man tried to take her purse during a robbery attempt Saturday night. She was on her way to Mass at Holy Innocents Church, according to the victim's family and police.
"She has cuts on her hand and was trying to resist him. People from the church came out. [The offender] took off running. She still had her purse on her arm," said Carol Chavez, the victim's sister-in-law.
The incident happened around 5:14 p.m. near Superior Avenue and Armour Street, said Officer Laura Amezaga, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
The woman was walking in the 1500 block of West Superior Street when a man approached her, punched her in the face and then fled northbound on Armour Street and westbound into an alley just south of Chicago avenue, Amezaga said.
Estimated to be between 20 and 30 years old, the woman's attacker was wearing gray hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants, according to police.
On Sunday night, George Edwards, the victim's husband — speaking on behalf of his wife, whose jaw was broken — said his wife's attacker was skinny and tall and wore a dreadlocks hairstyle. Edwards said the man's sweatpants had a Chicago Bulls logo or emblem.
Edwards' wife, who was running late to a 5 p.m. Mass at Holy Innocents Church, 743 N. Armour St., when she was attacked, was taken to Stroger Hospital by ambulance.
No belongings were taken because his wife fought back, Edwards said.
Area Central detectives are investigating the incident, and no one is in custody, Amezaga said.
"It's getting rough. The problem is they moved this police station; it's been nothing but problems. We need more police," Edwards said.
Edwards was referring to the Wood Street Police station at 913 N. Wood St. that closed in Dec. 2013 due to budget cuts and later became a Cook County Sheriffs Office. Chicago police officers from the station were consolidated with the Near West District police at 1412 S. Blue Island Ave. on the border of Little Italy and Pilsen.
The victim, who declined to be named, is a lifelong West Town resident .
Chavez said her niece and nephew are very upset.
"Her daughter has been with her nonstop since it happened," Chavez said, adding that her sister-in-law can't open her mouth and is "only eating soup and baby food."
Chavez said that the attack was the second time in recent weeks her family was impacted by crime.
"Crime is getting too close to home," she said.
Earlier this month, Chavez's daughter-in-law's grandmother was robbed when two young men posing as apartment renters stole gold jewelry, cash and fled in an SUV.
"I'm scared for anybody in the neighborhood. We've got old people walking with canes, people in wheelchairs, and this at 5 p.m. in front of a church?" Chavez said.
The victim's husband, who grew up in the neighborhood, said he was worried about his wife walking alone, but it was only a few blocks from their home to the church.
"[The attacker] was walking west down Superior Street, and she was walking toward the church. He was looking at her. She crossed into the street. He crossed too and sucker-punched her. She was fighting and screaming. She was knocked next to a car, and police thought she got hit by a car, the way she was laying there," Edwards said.
Chavez said her sister-in-law goes to Holy Innocents Church every Sunday with her brother-in-law, who is an usher there, but her sister-in-law had plans on Sunday so she opted to go on Saturday.
Someone said he heard a woman screaming and called 911. He posted about what he saw on a private "neighborhood watch" Facebook page.
Chavez shared a screenshot of the post with DNAinfo.
"I think she was thrown into a parked car based on not hearing tire squeal and people saw a man running into the alley," the man who called 911 posted on Facebook.
Edwards said his wife is "totally in shock" over what happened and faces a long recovery.
"There are working on her jaw, wiring it shut and removing some broken teeth. She'll need a plate or wire in her jaw for up to six weeks" Edwards said.