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Teen Charged With Murder Of Yvonne Ruzich, 70-Year-Old Woman Slain During Carjacking Attempt In Hegewisch

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 17-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of 70-year-old Yvonne Ruzich, a woman who was shot and killed during a carjacking attempt in Hegewisch last week.

Police are still searching for a second suspect in the attack.

Ruzich was parked outside of work at Baltimore Food, Deli, and Liquor in the 13300 block of South Baltimore Avenue around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, talking to one of her sons through the windows of their cars, when another vehicle pulled up, two people got out, and almost immediately started shooting at Ruzich.

Her son was able to drive off. Ruzich accelerated down the street, but crashed, and a witness said the men came back and shot her again. Ruzich died at a local hospital.

Police later released surveillance video and images of the gunmen.

Friday afternoon, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said investigators determined the shooters' vehicle had been stolen in an earlier carjacking.

Detectives were able to tie the same group to several other carjackings, and witnesses who knew the shooters helped identify them to police, according to Deenihan.

Police arrested one of the shooters, a 17-year-old boy, on Thursday in the 10600 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue in the Rosemoor neighborhood.

That boy has been charged with one count of first-degree murder. Police did not release his name, due to his age, but Deenihan said Cook County prosecutors are expected to transfer the case to adult court.

Deenihan said the boy likely will appear in court on Saturday.

"I want to thank everybody involved, and then really just the thoughts should go out to the family here for the victim. Once again, a 70-year-old victim still working, going to work at 4:30 in the morning, and life tragically ended just for trying to get a piece of property, a car," Deenihan said.

Deenihan said detectives are still looking for the second shooter, who they believe is also a juvenile.

"We know who we're looking for, and the community that does know who did this. If they could help us out at all, they also know who we're looking for," Deenihan said. "We're confident that hopefully we'll be able to arrest them in the near future."

Deenihan said the boy who has been charged did not speak to investigators after his arrest, so it's not clear why the carjackers targeted Ruzich and were so quick to shoot her.

"It's senseless. I mean, you guys saw the video. So there's no reason to shoot someone besides the fact that she wouldn't give up her car in that quick of a manner," he said. "Obviously the victim didn't do anything wrong in this case."

"Right now, we are having a carjacking crisis, and to the people out there, I would say just do your best to be aware of your surroundings, the normal things we talk about. And obviously they were in this case, and this still happened, so I think the offenders have to take responsibility for those actions because the victims didn't do anything wrong here," he added. "Unfortunately, we have some extremely violent people who are doing this. So we just caution the community to please do your best to be safe and be aware of your surroundings and react accordingly."

There have been more than 1,000 carjackings citywide this year to date, according to police. And Chicago's carjacking crisis is showing no sign of slowing down.

Earlier this week, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said the department would be "doubling down" on its carjacking task force, anticipating a possible spike in carjackings in Chicago this fall.

Earlier this year, CPD added 40 officers to its carjacking unit, which works with suburban departments and federal law enforcement agencies.

Chicago has seen a nearly unprecedented number of vehicular hijackings in 2021. CBS 2 is committed to providing the most up-to-date information on these incidents as they happen. Here you'll find the latest data available from the Chicago Police Department on carjackings across the city and in your neighborhood. 

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