A carjacker who wounded a Chicago Police officer in a high-speed chase told authorities he stole the vehicle because he and a cohort wanted to use it for a drive-by shooting, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.
Charles Lawson and another man accosted a 57-year-old woman as she was trying to wipe smudges off of her SUV on the Far South Side Tuesday night, Assistant State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo said.
Officer Brandon McDonald suffered a graze wound to his left cheek during the pursuit of Lawson, 24.
The other man hasn’t been charged.
Lawson allegedly told detectives that he and his accomplice had wanted to use the Dodge Journey for a drive-by later that night to retaliate against rival gang members who shot one of their relatives.
He also admitted that he was involved in the carjacking at 96th and Wallace and knew that he was shooting at police officers when he kept pulling the trigger as he tried to elude two squad cars, Lisuzzo said.
Four fired cartridges and a 30-round extended magazine loaded with live ammunition were found inside the stolen SUV, Lisuzzo said.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Lawson held without bail after berating him for repeatedly shooting at officers.
Lawson “fired not once, not twice but at least three times on separate occasions,” she said.
Moments before Tuesday night’s chase, which was captured on dashcam video, the carjacking victim saw Lawson’s cohort walk toward her on the sidewalk as she stood outside cleaning her vehicle, Lisuzzo said.
As the woman closed the rear driver’s side door, she turned and found the same man standing in front of her with a gun in his right hand, Lisuzzo said.
The man grabbed the woman by her dress, pushed her into the vehicle and demanded that she give the SUV to him, Lisuzzo said.
The woman went to reach into the driver’s side door of the SUV, which had its engine running. But by then, Lawson was sitting behind the wheel, Lisuzzo said.
Lawson’s friend eventually let go of the woman, causing her to stumble and fall onto the pavement, Lisuzzo said. While she was on the ground, the woman saw the armed man jump into another car that had been waiting for him. Meanwhile, Lawson allegedly drove off and was seen at 100th Street heading east on Eggleston by McDonald and his partner, Lisuzzo said.
The officers, who were in uniform, activated their lights, sirens and spotlight but Lawson ignored their signals to stop, Lisuzzo said. Instead he sped off and was seen making “furtive movements,” Lisuzzo said.
Soon, two others officers joined the chase at 103rd Street.
At 102nd and Eberhart, Lawson allegedly put his hand out the driver’s side window of the stolen vehicle and started shooting.
A bullet hit the front bumper of the squad car McDonald was in, Lisuzzo said.
Lawson fired at the officers again as he headed east on 100th, Lisuzzo said.
This time, a bullet struck the driver’s side window before grazing McDonald’s face, authorities said.
McDonald stopped his squad car. But the other officers kept pursuing Lawson, Lisuzzo said.
“I’m f—— shot. I’m hit! I’m hit,” McDonald can be heard saying on the video. After checking the extent of his wounds, McDonald can be heard again: “F – – – this s – – -. Let’s go get him.”
At 100th and Dauphin, Lawson shot at the other squad car and those officers returned fire, Lisuzzo said.
Lawson pulled the trigger once more and those officers shot toward Lawson again before he struck a parked car at 10040 Dauphin, Lisuzzo said.
Lawson ended up throwing his 9mm Beretta out of the driver’s side window of the car and immediately went down on the ground, Lisuzzo said.
A bullet fragment was found inside McDonald’s squad car. There was also a bullet hole visible on the front bumper of that squad car, Lisuzzo said.
Lawson was charged with four counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated hijacking and aggravated fleeing and eluding police.
He was on parole for an armed robbery and attempted armed robbery from 2011 when he was arrested this week.
Lawson is a high school graduate and had been supporting his pregnant fiancee by rehabbing homes, an assistant public defender said.