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Feds charge man in carjacking, murder of Chicago Uber driver

Edmond Harris allegedly carjacked and killed 46-year-old Javier Ramos on March 23.

The Independent Drivers Guild Chicago gathered in protest, calling on Uber, Lyft and other ride share companies to do more to protect them.
The Independent Drivers Guild Chicago gathered in protest, calling on Uber, Lyft and other ride share companies to do more to protect them after Javier Ramos was killed.
Zinya Salfiti / Chicago Sun-Times

A Chicago man has been charged in federal court with carjacking and killing a ride-share driver in Lawndale earlier this year.

Federal prosecutors allege 18-year-old Edmond Harris carjacked Javier Ramos’ 2013 Lexus GS on March 23 and shot him during a violent altercation. The charges accuse Harris of brandishing a firearm before shooting Ramos and taking his car.

Harris was charged with one count of carjacking, one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of causing death through the use of a firearm. These charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of death.

Harris was taken into federal custody Friday where he was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery Cummings.

“Senseless acts of violence like the ones charged in this indictment have no place in our society,” said U.S. Attorney John Lausch. “The charges announced today are the direct result of a strong partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement in Chicago. We will not hesitate to prosecute violent carjackers to the fullest extent of federal law.”

Ramos, a 46-year-old Uber driver, was shot in the head at 3:40 a.m. after he dropped off his passenger, who fled the scene in Ramos’ car. Ramos was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he later died.

“Carjacking is a threat to the safety of the community,” said Kristen de Tineo, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “I pledge the continued full support of the men and women of the Chicago Field Division to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes.”

A couple weeks after Ramos’ death, the Independent Drivers Guild’s Illinois chapter called on Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to do more in protecting its drivers. This included requiring passengers to upload a photo of their driver’s licenses, state IDs or passport on their account profiles.

“We are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in tracking down the killer of Javier Ramos,” said Lenny Sanchez, co-founder of the Independent Drivers Guild’s Illinois chapter. “While this won’t bring [Ramos] back to his family, these federal charges are a critical step toward accountability and we hope they send a message to all the carjackers who have been victimizing gig workers across our city.”

Carjackings were up dramatically in 2020 and are on a similar pace this year, with 702 between Jan. 1 and June 25, police records show.

Contributing: Emmanuel Camarillo