In a shocking incident last week, a Chicago family fell victim to an armed carjacking just outside their home, a harrowing event caught on surveillance video. The violent encounter occurred steps away from the family’s residence on Thursday night when two armed individuals approached Michele Pettiford and her 12-year-old daughter as they entered their garage in the rear of their Beverly home.
Describing the incident, Michele Pettiford stated, “It does happen to a just like regular family coming home from, like, a volleyball practice.”
The assailants forcibly pushed Pettiford to the ground, demanding the car keys. Recounting the terrifying experience, she expressed, “I thought that I wasn’t going to be here anymore.”
Surveillance footage captured on a Ring camera revealed the husband, Jeff Pettiford, walking out of the back door as the carjackers brandished a gun at his wife. In a courageous move, Jeff rushed toward the danger, attempting to de-escalate the situation.
The Pettifords’ daughter sought refuge inside their home, promptly calling the police. Jeff Pettiford commended his daughter’s bravery, stating, “She ran upstairs, used her phone, dialed 911. By the time we came back in, she was on the phone with 911, and she handed it to me. So I knew right away how courageous she was.”
Despite the Pettifords’ cooperation, the carjackers grew increasingly agitated while searching for the keys to Michele’s car. Video footage showed Jeff attempting to diffuse the situation by offering the keys to his car parked in the driveway, even assisting the perpetrators in starting the vehicle.
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Ultimately, the assailants fled in Jeff’s car, leaving the shaken parents on the ground in their backyard. Reflecting on the incident, Jeff expressed concern for others, stating, “I looked at how they treated my wife and daughter – a 12-year-old –, and I know that they will hurt and kill people, and they’re out there now doing the same thing.”
Retired Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy commended the Pettifords for their actions, emphasizing the importance of remaining calm during such incidents. Alderman Matt O’Shea, representing the Pettifords, denounced the violent nature of the crime, noting the alarming increase in car thefts in the Morgan Park Police District.
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The Pettifords, grateful for community support, emphasized the need for awareness and preparedness, asserting that such incidents can happen anywhere. As of Wednesday evening, one person was taken into custody, though the investigation remains ongoing.