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Illinois Senate majority leader and husband carjacked in western suburbs

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford’s black Mercedes SUV was stolen at gunpoint Tuesday night in Broadview. She and her husband were uninjured, police say. They and a friend were coming back from “getting their hair done,” said Broadview’s police chief, who would not say if Lightford or her husband had a gun.

Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford.
Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford.
AP

Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford and her husband were carjacked Tuesday night in west suburban Broadview with masked gunmen stealing her 2018 Mercedes SUV, police said.

Lightford and her husband Eric McKennie were unharmed, according to a statement from Thomas Mills, chief of the Broadview Police Department.

At about 9:45 p.m., three masked gunmen driving a Dodge Durango SUV stole Lightford’s vehicle in the 2000 block of South 20th Avenue, Mills said. Broadview police officers are trying to identify the robbers with surveillance video, he said.

Mills said, “multiple shots were fired during the incident.”

A police dispatch recording shows police were initially confused about whether the senator was a victim.

“All I got is a female who’s not forthcoming with information, saying she was in the vehicle that was taken, doesn’t know what kind of car it was, says there was shots fired,” an officer said. “Unknown if this is going to be bonafide or not.”

Minutes later, the officer followed up: “She’s saying it had something to do with a state senator, Kimberly Lightford.”

The officer then told the dispatcher, “It was a black Mercedes with a state senator’s registration plate.”

Lightford issued a statement Wednesday:

“First and foremost I am thankful that my husband and I are alive and physically unharmed. I am trying to process the trauma of what happened. I want to thank everyone who has offered their love and support. I want to especially thank Mayor Katrina Thompson and the Broadview Police Department for their quick and thorough response.”

In an interview, Mills said he thinks Lightford, McKennie and a friend were “coming back from getting their hair done.”

He said Lightford and her husband were dropping off the friend when the carjackers boxed the Mercedes in. Then they forced Lightford and her husband out of the car at gunpoint, he said.

“I think they did take some items belonging to the senator,” Mills said.

Asked if Lightford or her husband had a gun or if they fired any shots, Mills said, “I’m not going to answer. It’s an ongoing investigation.”

He said his officers were in the process of looking at doorbell-camera video on homes near the carjacking scene.

Lightford, whose office is in Westchester, has been in the Senate since 1998. In April, she was in the news after she announced she tested positive for COVID-19.

Chicago and the Cook County suburbs, especially western suburbs like Maywood and Oak Park, have seen a huge spike in carjackings in the past few years, according to police officials. Mills said the problem is “very minimal” in Broadview.

Carjackers gravitate to expensive SUVs like Lightford’s car, according to the police and interviews the Chicago Sun-Times has had with carjackers.