A top Democrat Illinois state lawmaker’s husband used his legally-owned firearm to exchange gunfire with an alleged carjacker who had robbed the pair at gunpoint last week.
Illinois state Sen. Kimberly Lightford and her husband Eric McKennie were out in the Village of Broadview, a Chicago suburb, Tuesday night when three people wearing masks stole the couple’s Mercedes-Benz SUV after holding them at gunpoint and exchanging fire with the couple.
“Luckily enough my husband is concealed and carry and he was able to protect us,” Lightford told ABC 7.
Broadview police Chief Thomas Mills said McKennie and at least one of the carjackers exchanged gunfire after the group of robbers demanded both Lightford and McKennie get out of the vehicle, The Chicago Tribune reported.
“I begged them not to shoot us. And I begged them not to shoot my husband, not to shoot me,” Lightford said, as reported by WGN-TV Ch. 9. “I told them to take whatever they want. They took everything off me that I had of value. And I offered the car. And my husband slid them the keys.”
“And then after we kind of got the guns off of us, they had separated me and my husband,” she told reporters. “After we got the guns off of us, my husband told me to run. And I ran reluctantly because I don’t want to leave him there. And it was a scary run because now shots are being fired. I thought for sure they were going to shoot me.”
The Mercedes was eventually recovered by police. The incident remains under investigation, and police are reviewing surveillance footage of the area.
“I am thankful that my husband and I are alive and physically unharmed,” Lightford later said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone who has offered their love and support.”
Mills said that while carjackings have been “minimal” in Broadview, other parts of Cook County have seen dramatic spikes in those crimes. In nearby Chicago, carjackings have increased 32 percent when compared to last year, jumping from 1,352 to 1,781 as of last Sunday.
Rep. Mary Scanlon Gay (D-PA) was also carjacked at gunpoint in South Philadelphia last week. Law enforcement recovered the stolen vehicle and five suspects were taken into custody, according to Delaware State Police. The congresswoman was physically unharmed.
According to the New York Post, both Lightford and Scanlon have been vocal proponents of “police reform,” each co-sponsoring bills to replace police officers with mental health specialists for some incidents as part of a broader effort to defund the police.