CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two men are facing charges in connection with multiple armed carjackings in Chicago in which they allegedly fired shots at the victims.
Marcus Whatley, 22, and 23-year-old Javon Readus are each charged with attempted murder, vehicular hijacking, aggravated battery with a firearm and criminal trespass to vehicles, Chicago police said. Readus is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of obstructing police.
The charges stem from "multiple vehicular hijackings," police said, but did not provide details on specific incidents.
On Thursday, a 65-year-old retired firefighter was fatally shot on the Far South Side during an attempted carjacking.
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Police say carjackings are often crimes of opportunity, and the opportunities appear to be on a dramatic rise.
According to Chicago police, there have been 1,236 carjackings so far this year; an increase of 134% over the same time last year. It's also the highest number since 2002.
It's unclear what's behind the increase, but authorities say many of the perpetrators are juveniles, who face less serious legal consequences.
Austin has seen the largest increase in carjackings, along with North Lawndale, West Garfield Park, the Near West Side and Chatham. Police said they are sending in extra officers to the highest risk areas, to saturate them with police.
If you find yourself about to become the victim of a carjacking, police advise you cooperate, and remember your vehicle is just property; it's not worth risking your safety or life.
Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.
The video in the player above is from an earlier report.
2 charged with attempted murder in connection with Chicago carjackings, police say