Whitney Young HS teacher carjacked in staff parking lot

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A teacher at Whitney Young High School was carjacked at gunpoint at the school's staff parking lot Tuesday morning, Chicago police and the school said.

Police said the victim was getting out of her vehicle in the 100-block of South Laflin Street when a male teenager entered the passenger side of her vehicle, displayed a gun and demanded her personal property. The victim got out of the car and the carjacker drove off with the car, police said. The teacher was not injured.

Whitney Young High School said the victim is a teacher at the school and that the carjacking occurred in the school's staff parking lot. The school said the carjacker approached the victim claiming he was being chased and needed help.

Police officers on foot made their presence known in the neighborhood hours after the incident.

"It's quite busy at that time with parents dropping off kids, folks going to work. It's pretty surprising at that time," said Alberto Barraza, who works in the neighborhood.

The teacher, a woman in her 30's according to police, was just arriving for work when the suspect approached.

Whitney Young's principal sent out a letter to teachers and parents describing the incident: "The perpetrator first approached the car claiming he was being chased and needed help. He then brandished a gun and demanded she relinquish her phone, purse, and car."

The incident has left residents wary.

"Any time you hear a about a carjacking you're concerned. And someone in the neighborhood with a gun. Yeah, that's even more disturbing," said Lenny Aron, a neighbor.

A witness said the gunman pushed the victim out of the driver's side door and drove off. A camera outside the Painters Union building apparently captured a side shot of the suspect but nothing that can assist police.

"It's alarming, especially for the woman inside. If I saw a guy with a gun, you gotta give up what you got. Play it safe," said Jim Teurel with the Painters Union.

Police said the suspect is black teenager 5 ft. 4 in., 130 lbs., with a flat-shaped nose and was wearing a dark grey hoodie with black pants.

Chicago Public Schools released the following statement:

"The safety of our school communities is the district's highest priority and we are grateful the teacher was not physically harmed during the encounter. The district is working with the Chicago Police Department to provide additional vigilance in the surrounding area and ensure all safety measures and protocols are as strong as possible, and the district has made supports available to the teacher."
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