A driver who had a gun pressed to his forehead by a carjacker outside a North Side grocery store on Wednesday evening refused to press charges against the man who apparently took the car because the vehicle was still in good condition when police recovered it for him. That’s according to a source with knowledge of the case.
The 18-year-old that he refused to pursue charges against has four armed robbery cases pending in juvenile court and had a loaded handgun in his waistband when cops found him next to the stolen car downtown, according to prosecutors.
Around 7 p.m. Wednesday, the 44-year-old victim was sitting inside his parked, running car on the parking lot of Cermak Fresh Market, 6623 North Damen, in Rogers Park, according to a CPD report. Suddenly, a man opened his passenger door and got inside. The intruder pressed a handgun to his forehead, demanded his valuables, and then told him to get out, the report said.
He complied, and the offender drove away with his silver Toyota Camry, according to CPD spokesperson Kellie Bartoli. While officers were speaking with the victim, cops in the 1st (Central) Police District spotted the man’s stolen car at a BP gas station, 50 West Ida B. Wells.
Traigan Martin, 18, was standing outside the car and moved inside the gas station when he saw police arriving, prosecutors said Thursday. Cops followed him inside, ordered him to raise his hands, and recovered a loaded handgun with an extended ammunition magazine and a laser sight from his waistband, according to prosecutors.
But when the victim realized that his car was still in good condition, he declined to pursue charges, according to a source. Bartoli confirmed that the victim refused to prosecute, but she did not give a reason for his decision.
Cops arrested Martin anyway for the gun he allegedly had in his waistband. He’s charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Prosecutors said during his bond court hearing that he has four pending armed robbery cases from before his 18th birthday. They did not provide details of those allegations. An assistant public defender said Martin has a two-year-old child and attended Legal Prep Career Academy.
Judge Arthur Willis ordered Martin held on a juvenile warrant and set bail for the gun charge at $25,000. Willis said Martin would need to post a $2,500 deposit to get out of jail on electronic monitoring after the warrant is resolved.
Wednesday’s victim is not the first person to forgive an armed carjacker this year.
On February 3, a 28-year-old man was carjacked at gunpoint while shoveling out a parking space in West Town. Police arrested John Daniels, 19, as he drove the stolen car a short time later, according to a CPD report.
While police were processing Daniels at the station, the victim’s driver’s license, debit card, and medical marijuana card fell out of his pants, the report said. But the victim decided not to pursue charges because he “felt sorry for” the people who took his Lexus because “they probably need a car.”
Less than four months later, Daniels took an 11-year-old boy to Uptown, where they violently carjacked another man, according to prosecutors.
That victim, a 59-year-old man, was viciously beaten and suffered a broken orbital bone, prosecutors said. Video allegedly shows Daniels standing over the fallen man and taking keys from his hand. The Uptown victim pressed charges.