Saint Ignatius priest grazed while confronting suspected catalytic converter thieves in Little Italy

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Monday, June 3, 2024
Chicago priest grazed while confronting suspected thieves on West Side
Father Jeremiah Lynch with Saint Ignatius College Prep suffered a graze wound during a Little Village shooting in Chicago on West Taylor Street.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Jesuit priest narrowly escaped with his life after confronting a pair of suspected thieves on the West Side.

Fifteen people, including Father Jeremiah Lynch, S.P., live at a Jesuit residence in Little Italy. Lynch was just starting his Monday when he heard what sounded like construction coming from this parking lot around 6 a.m.

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It ended with several gunshots and a graze wound, but thankfully, everyone is OK.

Saint Ignatius College Prep Communications Director Kristyn Hartman with spoke with ABC7 on behalf of Lynch hours after his near-death experience outside his residence on West Taylor Street.

"He poked his head out the door and saw something unusual happening, and said 'Hey, what are you doing?' And that's when they started shooting," Hartman said.

Since when is a catalytic converter more important than a life?
Kristyn Hartman

Bullet holes were left in the door just inches from where Lynch leaned outside to check out the commotion. The priest was fortunate to escape with a graze wound on his forehead.

"He was certainly shaken. Certainly. All he did was what a lot of us might do. He saw heard something happening, and he said, 'Hey what's going on?'" Hartman said.

Hartman believes thieves were after catalytic converters. What she can't understand is why the thieves thought gun violence was warranted.

"Since when is a catalytic converter more important than a life?" Hartman said.

SEE ALSO | Man critically wounded in shooting while helping carjacking victim on West Side, Chicago police

Saint Ignatius College Prep is just down the block, and the University of Illinois Chicago campus is just steps away. Vee Steward works in the Department of Chemistry at UIC.

"You don't want to be gripped by fear, but you want to live in reality that this could happen. And it's like happening everywhere at any time, so it really is frightening. It's frightening. It's frustrating. You know, you work here. You live here. You don't have a choice," Steward said.

School is out for the summer at nearby Saint Ignatius College Prep, but still school leaders sent a letter home to families, explaining what happened. They also shared this advice from police: If you see something, call 911 immediately, and don't try to intervene.

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