Man says he shot, killed robber after escaping from car
Police investigate the scene of fatal shooting that occurred Tuesday night after a man says he was grabbed off the street by robbers. (WGN-TV)
A South Side man says he grabbed a gun from robbers who snatched him off the street and he killed one of them when firing off what he meant to be a warning shot.
"I'm walking to the store minding my own business and a car full of juveniles pull their car to the side," said the 31-year-old man, who asked not to be identified. "A guy gets out pointing a gun at me to get in the car and says we're going to the ATM. There's a bunch of people in there--I'm not going to argue."
Chicago police said they have corroborated details of the man's account with witnesses. One police official said the man won't face any charges. He said he told the man, "You're either lucky or you're crazy."
The incident happened just after 11 p.m. Tuesday near 47th Street and Martin Luther King Drive in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
The victim said he was ordered into the front seat of the car with the driver while the others sat in the back.
"So we're circling the block. They're talking about going back to my house, getting my flat screen. . .I'm thinking this must be a dream, nothing like this has ever happened to me. I work a 9-to-5 job at an insurance company. I just want to come home and live my life," he said.
He said the robbers drove him to Maggie's Gyros at 349 E. 47th Street, where two of them went in with his wallet, ATM card and PIN. "I had to give them my PIN number because the driver told me if I was lying, they'd shoot me. And I believed them," he said.
"We drove around the block, and then a third guy wants to know if I have a checking account or a savings account. So after I tell him, he gets out at the restaurant. So it's me, the person in the back, and the driver who has a .38 pointed at me the whole time, even while he's driving," the victim said.
The car pulled into an alley near 47th and King. Halfway down, a woman in the back seat told the driver to toss her the gun because she didn't want police to see it, he said.
"All of a sudden, by the grace of God, between these two fools, I hear boom, and then I hear her hollering and screaming, 'I shot my finger off, I shot it off.' The driver starts panicking and he goes right into a Dumpster," the victim continued.
"That's when I knew it was my moment. But me and the driver are strapped in tight by these automatic seatbelts, and that makes it harder."
"My adrenaline was pumping. I reach over the seat and go to get the gun. I got the driver kicking at me, and I'm fighting for the gun with the woman. One arm is fending off his kicks, the other is trying to get this gun. I finally get it and point it at the driver, about six inches away from his abdomen. I pulled the trigger and nothing happened.
"So I'm thinking, oh man, I have to get out of here."
He said he rolled out of the car and started running down the alley. The woman got out and chased him.
"I don't know if she's gonna kill me or not, so I fire a warning shot," the man said. "Unfortunately it hit her. I never fired a gun in my life."
The man, still holding the gun, said he then ran toward the gyros shop and started yelling that he needed a policeman.
"I'm waving this gun around because I talk with my hands," he explained. "Well, all these people in the restaurant think I'm the bad guy and start ducking under their tables and screaming. So I gotta run out of there."
He spotted a CTA truck on the street and "pleaded with the workers inside to call police."
"They believed me. But they said, 'You better get the hell out of here. You're saying one thing, but your gun is saying another,'" he said.
The man said he ran down the street to the store where he had been headed to buy some snacks, but it was closed. At that moment, he saw a patrol car and waved it down.
"I put my hands on the hood, told them I had a gun in my pocket, and that (some) men tried to rob me. So they came out, cuffed me, took me back to the station so I could tell my story."
The man said he feels badly the woman died, saying he only meant to warn her. "But my blood was pumping so fast and my adrenaline. . ."
"I'm with my grandmother right now and she's shaken," the man said this morning. "So I'm calling in sick and taking care of her. Those few minutes felt like forever. I'm glad it's over, I just want my life to be normal."
The man said the only injury he suffered is a welt under his left eye. The robbers got his wallet and $12, he added.
Andrew Holmes, who works for the city of Chicago, said he was parking in a truck outside the gyros restaurant, grabbing lunch with two other workers, when he heard gunfire Tuesday night.
"Then we looked up a second later (and) the guy was running out of the alley with a gun. He was yelling, 'I just been robbed, please call the police.' "
Holmes said he got on his phone while the man went inside the restaurant, still holding the gun. "People started ducking. Then he left. . .I call 911 again and told them his description, what pocket his gun was in, and what direction he was heading."
Holmes said he followed the man to a CTA station "and all of the sudden he was walking back to the shooting scene. I told the dispatcher he was coming back. . .and told him to tell the cops I saw him there. I told them I thought there was a body in the alley. I saw the cops stop him, told him to put his hands in the air and took the revolver out of his pocket."
Police said they plan to view several surveillance cameras in the area, including one at the restaurant. They said the suspects -- who are still at large -- face robbery and possible murder charges in connection with the woman's death.
The woman was identified through fingerprints as Barbara McComb, 21, of the 4200 block of South Calumet. She had been taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:29 a.m. today.
-- Pat Curry