Charges filed in harrowing Uptown carjacking

A woman narrowly missed being shot at point-blank range by a gunman who fired on her from the passenger seat as she hung out the rear door of a moving, carjacked vehicle in Uptown on Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said.

Michael C. Pearson | CPD

Prosecutors said Michael Pearson, 18, and two juveniles decided to carjack the woman because they were tired of walking.

The woman, age 26, and her 27-year-old female roommate were removing a dresser from the rear seat of a car on the 800 block of West Windsor when Pearson and the juveniles approached them around 3:36 p.m., prosecutors said.

One of the juveniles took the older woman’s car keys at gunpoint and got into the driver’s seat. Meanwhile, the younger woman became stuck between the dresser, the passenger seat, and the rear seat as Pearson tried to pull her out, prosecutors said.

As the woman screamed that she was stuck, Pearson got into the front passenger seat, and the juvenile sped away with her hanging out of the rear door, according to allegations made in bond court Thursday. The second juvenile walked away from the scene.

Prosecutors described a chaotic scene as the trapped woman hung from the back passenger door, waving her arms as the car sped down the street, and Pearson pointed a gun at her head.

“He was trying to get her to jump out of a moving car at gunpoint while she was flailing,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

The woman reported feeling a “puff of air” pass her head as she held her eyes closed in prayer. The “puff of air” was a bullet from Pearson’s gun flying past her head, according to prosecutors.

“All she could do is close her eyes and pray for her life as a bullet whizzed past her head,” Murphy told Judge Charles Beach.

Police said the stolen car crashed into a parked vehicle near Hutchinson and Clarendon moments later. The driver ran away and was arrested a short time later.

But the impact of the collision threw the victim on top of Pearson, and the two became entangled while struggling for control of the handgun, Murphy said. Pearson eventually freed himself and ran from the scene with the gun, according to allegations.

Pearson told officers that he and the two minors pulled off the carjacking “because they didn’t want to walk any more,” Murphy said. Pearson allegedly claimed that his firearm “just went off” during the episode.

Surveillance cameras recorded much of the initial carjacking as well as the struggle for control of the gun, according to Murphy.

Prosecutors charged Pearson with Class X felony aggravated vehicular hijacking and Class X felony aggravated kidnapping with a firearm. Beach ordered him held without bail. The juvenile who police arrested after the crash has also been charged. But the young accomplice who walked away from the carjacking scene has not been identified or charged.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com