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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2020

Grand Jury Indicts Man on Carjacking and Firearm Charges for Allegedly Stealing Vehicle at Gunpoint in Chicago

CHICAGO — A federal grand jury has indicted a man on carjacking and firearm charges for allegedly stealing a vehicle at gunpoint in Chicago last month.

On the afternoon of July 28, 2020, MICHAEL C. PEARSON forcibly took a 2006 Buick Lucerne from two victims in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, according to an indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Pearson discharged a handgun during the carjacking, the indictment states.  Neither victim was wounded. 

The indictment charges Pearson, 18, of Chicago, with one count of carjacking and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.  He is currently in law enforcement custody.  Arraignment on the federal charges has not yet been scheduled. 

The firearm charge carries a maximum sentence of life in federal prison, while the carjacking charge is punishably by up to 15 years.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in bringing these charges.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert Berry III.

“Carjacking is a senseless act of violence that has no place in our society,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “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.”

“This indictment proves that Operation Legend is working, and is successfully getting violent criminals off the streets of our city,” said FBI SAC Buie.  “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.”

The case was brought under Operation Legend, a Department of Justice initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement to fight violent crime.  As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General William P. Barr directed ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and DEA to significantly increase resources in Chicago to help state and local officials fight violent crime, particularly firearm offenses.  Since the operation’s launch in Chicago on July 22, 2020, more than 60 defendants have been charged in cases alleging federal felony offenses relating to violent crime affecting the city of Chicago.  Those cases include more than 30 defendants facing a lead firearms-related charge.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Topic(s): 
Operation Legend
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated September 1, 2020