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Up to 15 gunshots reported during carjacking of Illinois senator

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As many as 15 gunshots were reported when the husband of Illinois state Sen. Kimberly Lightford exchanged gunfire last month with carjackers who sped off in the senator’s loaner Mercedes-Benz SUV, according to a police report.

The four-page report from Broadview police provides additional details about the Dec. 21 carjacking of Lightford, the second highest-ranking state senator, and her husband, Eric McKennie, in the western suburb. No one was hurt in the exchange of gunfire, and three suspects remain at large.

Broadview police responded to “multiple calls for shots fired” about 9:45 p.m. Dec. 21, and officers headed to the carjacking site in the 2000 block of South 20th Avenue, according to the report, obtained by the Tribune through an open-records request. Dispatchers alerted officers that 10 to 15 shots were reported, and Lightford “was involved in the incident,” the report states.

Officers arrived on scene and took possession of McKennie’s Glock 27 .40-caliber pistol while they “figured out what transpired,” the report states. It also says McKennie showed the officers his valid firearm owner’s identification card and concealed carry license

McKennie told one of the officers the following account of what happened:

He, Lightford and a friend were in the senator’s Mercedes heading west on Roosevelt Road, then turned right onto 20th Avenue, where the crime occurred, to drop off the friend.

“While saying goodbye,” a Dodge SUV pulled in front of the Mercedes. Three suspects approached the Mercedes with handguns, and McKennie told Lightford to run.

McKennie tossed the car keys into the street and backed away from the Mercedes. That’s when the gunfire erupted.

“McKennie got a few feet away from the vehicle and stated that one subject began firing their weapon, to which McKennie responded by protecting himself and fired his weapon toward the subject,” the report stated.

“McKennie ran south down 20th Avenue, after firing a few rounds and found cover next to a house,” the report also stated, as the alleged carjackers fired more rounds at him. The report did not specify how many rounds each shooter fired.

“McKennie could not say if he hit any suspects or the vehicle,” the report states.

Lightford told officers her purse and phone were inside the Mercedes. An effort to track the phone was not successful.

Comprehensive descriptions of the suspects weren’t available, though at least one was wearing a face mask, the report states. Police have said the suspects escaped in both the Mercedes and the vehicle they pulled up in.

The senate majority leader’s leased Mercedes was later found by police about two blocks south of the Eisenhower Expressway on Chicago’s West Side, authorities have said.

Broadview police went door to door and found Ring camera doorbells at multiple residences. Police found at least one resident who might have had some video footage, though the report doesn’t say what it showed.

Lightford’s Mercedes was identified as being a loaner from “the Westmont Mercedes Dealer.” The report also shows the Mercedes had on her Senate-issued license plates.

At an event two days later, Lightford, a Maywood Democrat who has been in the state legislature since 1998, said she “didn’t realize what a traumatic event could do in an adult.”

The carjacking occurred about 30 minutes after a Christmas event hosted by Broadview village officials took place close to the scene of the crime, Broadview police Chief Thomas Mills has said.

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