Juvenile charged in South Chicago carjacking linked to Summit gas station murder

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Thursday, July 7, 2016
Two suspects sought in Chicago to Summit crime spree
Police believe a vehicle stolen during a violent carjacking on Chicago's South Side was used for a crime spree that culminated with a deadly armed robbery in Summit.

SUMMIT, Ill. (WLS) -- A 15-year-old boy was charged in a South Side carjacking linked to a crime spree that involved the murder of a gas station attendant in southwest suburban Summit.

The juvenile was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking. He is due in bond court Friday.

Police said the teen was arrested after he was identified as the person who shot a 27-year-old man in the leg just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, while he was pumping gas at the Amstar in the 8900-block of South South Chicago Avenue.

Surveillance video shows the suspect rifled through the victim's pockets as he lay bleeding on the ground. He and another male suspect then took off in the victim's car, police said.

The victim, a regular customer at the gas station, was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center with a broken femur, where he is listed in serious condition.

Police said a few minutes later, the suspects were involved in a shooting near East 85th Street and South Mackinaw Avenue, where man on a bicycle was wounded.

Investigators said sometime before 8:30 a.m., the stolen car was involved in an accident with another vehicle, where it sustained front-end damage. The woman driving the other vehicle tried to run down the suspects, but did not succeed.

At around 8:30 a.m. police said the suspects drove the stolen vehicle to the Shell gas station in the 5300-block of Harlem Avenue in Summit, where officers responded to a report of an armed robbery.

Around 20 minutes later, police said the suspects drove to another Shell gas station in the 6300-block of Harlem Avenue in Summit. Police said a store clerk was shot during a robbery.

The clerk, identified as 34-year-old Ghassan K. Abu Jreis of Oak Lawn, was transported to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

Relatives said he didn't typically work the morning shift, but was asked to do so Wednesday morning.

"Everybody should be on high alert. The public has to come together to help put these guys away. They are monsters," said Jamil Salman, Jreis's brother-in-law. "He is the last person that deserves this. He's never been in trouble, not once."

"My heart goes out to them. I feel really bad for the family. May God put peace on them," said Steve Ross, a regular customer at the Shell. "He was loyal. Every time you see him, he always had a smile on his face. Even if he had a bad day, you never knew if he did or not. He was always smiling."

Investigators released images Wednesday afternoon of the alleged shooter, an alleged accomplice and the stolen car. The vehicle is a silver Pontiac Grand Prix, license plate number L925050.

A Chicago area man came forward Thursday, claiming he was also a victim of the armed robbers.

"It was a state of shock," Michael Airhart said. "I looked again and I rewound the TV and I said, 'Wait a minute, no, that's them.'"

Airhart said he knew immediately that the armed robbers responsible for Wednesday's crimes were the same gunmen he believes attacked him on Feb. 16 at a Shell gas station at 87th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Airhart, who runs a kid's community outreach center, said after seeing the surveillance pictures released by Chicago police and comparing them to his daylight robbery captured by security cameras, there was no doubt in his mind that it's the same men.

"I talked to him. He talked back to me. I calmed him down. But I couldn't calm that guy down. He wanted to kill," Airhart said.

Police said anyone who sees the other suspect or the stolen car should call 911 or Summit police at 908-273-0051. The FBI also joined the investigation.