Would-be robber who stabbed victim in Loop charged with hate crime

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Leroy Willis.
Leroy Willis.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man from Chicago's Roseland neighborhood, who police said stabbed a man he was trying to rob on the Washington Street Bridge in the Loop, is facing a hate crime charge.

Todd Light, 49, was walking in the 400-block of West Washington Street around 11:35 p.m. Sunday. He heading from his job as a security guard.

Police said that's when Leroy Willis, 45, approached him from behind, "uttered a derogatory racial statement" and tried to steal his wallet.

"Next thing I know he's like right behind me reaching around me," Light said. "He just sticks a knife in me and shouts give me your wallet."

Light was stabbed in the stomach with a steak knife.

"If he had been competent enough to carry a proper tool I wouldn't be here," Light said.

A passerby, Aaron Helfer, called police and helped pin down the suspect until officers arrived. Willis was taken into custody without incident.

"Now there's this dangerous guy out there who's not on the streets anymore, and we can all be thankful for that," Helfer said.

Light was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition stabilized. His injuries were not life-threatening.

Willis, of the 11000-block of South Wentworth Avenue, was charged with aggravated battery, hate crime and aggravated attempted robbery. He is due in bond court Tuesday.