I was raised with one of those wise old folk’s sayings constantly harped into my ears: “Even thieves buy Christmas presents!” And 60-plus years later, those words continue to resonate in me. So without fail, I get to this time of year, and I try to pay extra special attention to my surroundings. Carjacking is the number one worry of most people who are out driving. So when I turn into the alley to go to my garage, if someone else turns in, I’m not going into the garage. I also hesitate to put my garage door up, giving myself a moment to see if someone tries to come behind me in the alley.
However, thieves do like to spring out of nowhere, and that is what appears to be the case in what happened to state Senator Kimberly Lightford last week. She and her husband were dropping off somebody in Broadview when out of nowhere, a white Durango SUV pulls up and blocks their Mercedes-Benz SUV. Three people (no descriptions of those individuals have yet been released) jump out of the Durango and force the state senator and her husband out of their SUV and onto the ground.
Now I have looked at every news report and video I could find, and I’m still not exactly clear, based on the media reporting and even the police bulletin, as to who was driving their SUV — the state senator or her husband, Eric McKinnie. For those of us who’ve been involved in politics on the West Side, Eric once worked security for the politicians on this side of town. So for some younger thugs to get the best of him by jacking his car is very interesting.
The rest of the story as it was being told is also confusing. According to the state senator, she and her husband were both forced to the ground, on their respective side of the vehicle. She willingly gave up all her possessions. Then somehow the guns that were once trained on both of them were no longer on her, so her husband told her to run, and she began to run toward the house while gunfire was ongoing. It took over 24 hours for the police to acknowledge that gunfire was an exchange between her husband, who is a licensed concealed-carry holder, and the carjackers. One of the questions that has yet to be answered is: Who fired first? Neighbors have reported at least 10 shots going off, and those bullets in that residential neighborhood did land somewhere.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that a CPD police lieutenant on the South Side at 95th and Western had her car stolen, and she was royally reamed for firing at the fleeing carjacker. So politicians don’t get a “pass” because of their position. If her husband initiated the shooting, especially over an SUV that turns out to be a dealer’s loaner car, then he should face consequences like any other person. And if he started the gunfire, he should be charged! Let’s see if the police tracked down the movements of this car and apprehend the culprits.
Springfield has been real quiet on legislation regarding carjackers. Let’s see if this high-profile case is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and thus some substantive legislation might be forthcoming that will address the carjacking problem with genuine penalties and prices to be paid!