A Chicago teen is facing federal carjacking and firearm charges brought as part of a nationwide initiative between federal and local law enforcement agencies aimed at combating violent crime.
A federal grand jury indicted Michael Pearson, 18, on one count each of carjacking and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois. Pearson is in custody, but his arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
According to a criminal complaint, Pearson used a .22 Glock handgun to carjack a 2006 Buick Lucerne from two victims in the Uptown neighborhood on July 28.
Pearson had already been charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated kidnapping with a firearm in Cook County court for the same incident late last month. According to CWBChicago, Pearson and two others attempted the carjacking because they were tired of walking. Prosecutors said one of the victims narrowly missed being shot at point-blank range during the incident, according to CWB.
“Carjacking is a senseless act of violence that has no place in our society,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said in a statement. “Our office is committed to working closely with the FBI, CPD, and other law enforcement partners to pursue and prosecute violent offenders. The carjacking and gun charges announced today are the direct result of that strong partnership.”
The partnership Lausch referred to is known as Operation Legend, a “sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative” between federal and local law enforcement targeting violent crime.
On Thursday, Lausch’s office announced that 61 people had already been arrested in Chicago in the past four weeks and charged with federal felony offenses as part of that initiative. More than half of those defendants are facing a firearms-related charge.
Named after a 4-year-old boy who was killed in Kansas City, Operation Legend has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis, according to federal officials.
“This indictment proves that Operation Legend is working, and is successfully getting violent criminals off the streets of our city,” Emmerson Buie, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago FBI Field Office, said in a statement. “The FBI and CPD Vehicular Hijacking Taskforce, along with our partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office, will continue to bring justice to those that commit these intolerable violent crimes.”
Pearson faces up to 15 years in prison on the carjacking charge and a possible life sentence on the firearm charge. He is currently being held in the Cook County Jail, where he was ordered held without bond.