DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Westmont Chief of Police Jim Gunther announced today that a fifteen-year-old Westmont juvenile has been accused of shooting a fifty-four-year-old woman in her leg and hijacking her car at gunpoint late Tuesday evening. The juvenile appeared at a detention hearing this morning where Judge Anthony Coco ordered he be detained. At the hearing this morning, the State indicated it will be filing a motion to have the juvenile transferred to adult court. He has been charged with one count of Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking (Class X Felony), one count of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm (Class X Felony), one count of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (Class 4 Felony) and one count of Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4 Felony).
On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at approximately 11:54 p.m., Westmont police officers responded to a call of a vehicular hijacking that had just occurred at the Suffield Gardens apartment complex south of 63rd Street and West of Cass Avenue in Westmont. Upon their arrival, officers found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound to her leg. She was immediately transported to a local hospital for medical attention and is expected to recover from her injuries. Allegedly, the victim was returning to her home and parked her car near her apartment, and when the victim opened her car door, the defendant was standing outside the door armed with a gun. Allegedly, the defendant pointed the gun at the victim’s face and ordered her to get out of the car. Then the defendant shot the victim in her leg, pulled the victim out of the car by the hood of her coat and then fled the scene in the victim’s car eastbound on 63rd Street. Approximately eleven minutes later, the victim’s car was located northbound on Route 83 near I-88 by an Oak Brook police officer in a marked squad car. Allegedly when the Oak Brook officer activated the police vehicle lights and sirens, the defendant fled in the vehicle onto I-290/Mannheim Road. During a brief chase, the defendant reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. The defendant crashed the vehicle as he attempted to exit the highway. The defendant was taken into custody while police officers recovered a loaded P80 polymer gun with no serial number and an extended magazine in the vehicle.
“The allegations that this juvenile shot an innocent woman as she sat in her car outside of her residence, dragged her out of the car by the hood of her coat and then fled in her vehicle are outrageous. The type of violent behavior alleged in this case has an adverse effect on the safety and security enjoyed by the entire community and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are all thankful that the victim survived this alleged attack and is recovering from her injuries. I thank the Westmont Police Department for their efforts on this case as well as the Oak Brook Police Department for their assistance in the apprehension of the suspect. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Nick Catizone, Grace Barsanti and Helen Kapas for their efforts in bringing charges against the juvenile.”
— DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin
“The details of this case are very disturbing,” Gunther said. “I’d like to thank the responding Westmont police officers and the Westmont Fire Department for rendering first aid to the victim so quickly as well as the investigators for conducting a thorough investigation. Armed violence will not be tolerated and we will use every resource at our disposal to ensure justice is served for the victim. I also thank State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and his office for their legal guidance on this case.”
— Westmont Chief of Police Jim Gunther
The next court appearance for the juvenile is scheduled for January 10, 2022, for status on the State’s motion to transfer the case to adult court.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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