Police say an armed carjacker stole a vehicle in a busy, well-traveled area in downtown Evanston Wednesday night, hitting an occupant in the head with a gun before speeding away in the victim’s Jeep.

Officers in both Evanston and Skokie tried to stop the 2014 silver Cherokee, but the suspect got away, crashing the car at Enfield and Dempster in Skokie and fleeing on foot.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew says the incident began around 9 p.m. at Davis Street and Chicago Avenue downtown.

Four people had just left an area restaurant when, Glew says, the carjacker ordered everyone out of the vehicle.

When one of the carjacking victims tried to get the keys, as directed, Glew says the victim, a 24-year-old man from Morton Grove, was hit in the head with a gun.

That victim was treated at the scene by Evanston firefighters. The three other Jeep occupants, the 23-year-old girlfriend of the first victim, her juvenile sister, and the mother of the man who was hit, were not hurt. All three are from Skokie.

Before even knowing it was carjacked, an Evanston officer saw the stolen car involved in traffic violations. The officer quickly learned the car and driver were wanted, and tried to stop the carjacker, but the stolen vehicle did not stop after a short chase.

Skokie police then tried to stop the Jeep, but it crashed into another vehicle and the carjacker got away.

A gun was recovered in the Jeep.

The offender is described as a male, 6′-6’3″, 20-25 years old and wearing a hoodie and mask.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.