‘I Begged Them': Lightford Recounts Pleading for Her Life During Armed Carjacking

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Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford recounted the harrowing moment when she and her husband were carjacked at gunpoint in suburban Broadview Tuesday, saying she begged for the carjackers not to shoot her.

Lightford said she and her husband were dropping off a friend when the unexpected scene unfolded.

"I was telling her, 'Merry Christmas. Be safe.' And a car pulls up on the left of us... and three guys just hopped out with guns and they demanded that we get out the car and they put my husband on the ground and they had me over on the other side," she said. "And I don't know that I ever had an idea of what to do in that, you know, instance, so I just gave them whatever they asked for and they took everything."

The Broadview Police Department said three masked people driving a Durango SUV hijacked a black Mercedes Benz SUV with Lightford and her husband inside just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in the 2000 block of South 20th Avenue.

Lightford recalled begging the men not to shoot her or her husband and at one point having to flea the scene and leave her husband behind.

"I asked them, I begged them not to shoot and I begged them not to shoot my husband, not to shoot me," she said. "I told them to take whatever they want. You know, they took everything off me that I had that, you know, of value. And I offered the car and my husband slid them the keys. And then after we kind of got them the guns off of us - they had separated me and my husband - and after we got the guns off of us, my husband told me to run and, you know, I ran, but reluctantly because I didn't want to leave him there and it was a scary run because now shots are being fired. I thought for sure they were gonna shoot me down so it was it was... it was difficult."

Lightford said the carjackers opened fire on the pair, but her husband, a concealed carry holder fired back.

"It was like in a movie. It was like I was in a scene from a movie and I was being victimized and I just wanted my life, I wanted my husband's life in that moment," she said. "So nothing else really mattered."

Authorities said multiple gunshots were fired during the incident but both the senator and her husband, Eric McKennie, were unharmed.

"There are no reports of injuries to the subjects," police said in a release. "The subjects fled in both senator’s car and in the Durango."

Lightford called her husband her "hero" and said he "saved us."

Lightford thanked police and city officials for their prompt response to the scene and said she'll be heading back to Springfield with a new perspective.

"I've always had the perspective of protecting my constituency and and providing, you know, more services around violence prevention," she said. "And we just passed the big criminal justice reform package. And so, you know, that had a lot of that, but I would plead to the community and law enforcement is that we find a way to work together like we used to do. There needs to be an awful lot more community policing and we have to rebuild trust between the police department and the community. So we have to figure out how to get that done."

Police said an investigation remains ongoing and they are looking into potential surveillance video that could help identify suspects.

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