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A Chicago Ridge deputy fire chief has been charged with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated attempted criminal sexual assault and residential burglary after he allegedly broke into a neighbor's home wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife.

Gary Swiercz, 49, who has been with the department for over twenty years, was placed on paid leave right after his arrest, but retired the following day.

According to reports in the Chicago Tribune, prosecutors say Swiercz broke into the home of a woman in his condo building while wearing a ski mask and carrying a folding knife. He also had duct tape, rope, a sex toy and lubricant. He put his hand on the woman's mouth while she was sleeping, then put a 3-inch blade to her throat and threatened to slash it. He held her hands together and forced her into the kitchen, where he pushed her against a cabinet, and then he threw her to the ground, grabbed her by the hair and slammed her to the ground multiple times. The victim suffered a swollen lip and a knot to the back on her head.


Article 18 of the Illinois Criminal Code makes a distinction between what crimes are considered aggravated robbery and what crimes qualify as armed robbery.  While it's possible for an individual to be charged with either when committing a robbery, each charge carries different prerequisites by law.

A person commits armed robbery when he or she:

  1. “Carries on or about” their person a firearm or a dangerous weapon.
  2. Personally discharges a firearm during the course of the crime.
  3. Personally discharges a firearm during the course of the crime that “proximately causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to another person”

Armed robbery is classified as a Class X Felony offense, the highest class of felony in the state of Illinois.  If convicted of armed robbery, a person will have 15-25  years of imprisonment added to his or her sentence.


In a group of shootings that occurred Friday night and early Saturday, police report that thirteen individuals, including a 14 year old boy, are dead.

The teen, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office as 14 year old Alejandro Jamie, was shot in the back of the head at 8:58 pm in the 2600 block of West 35th Place.  He was transported to Mount Sinai hospital where the was pronounced dead at 9:40 pm.

Following the incident that took Jamie's life, at least a dozen other people were killed on the South side.  At 9:58 pm, three people were killed in what Chicago police are callijng a possible drive by shooting in the 5600 block area of Winchester Aveneue.  A 19 year old woman received a gunshot wound to the stomach and was transported to to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in serious condition.

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