State Sen. Kimberly Lightford’s husband had a gun and exchanged shots with at least one of the suspects when the couple was hijacked earlier this week in suburban Broadview, authorities disclosed on Thursday.

Lightford, the Democratic senate majority leader and the second highest-ranking senator in the General Assembly, was in a vehicle with her husband, Eric McKennie, when they were carjacked at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. The couple was in the near west suburb to drop off a friend, police have said.

At some point after Lightford and McKennie were ordered out of their black Mercedes SUV, there was an exchange of gunfire between McKennie and at least one of the carjackers, Broadview police Chief Thomas Mills said Thursday.

Mills said McKennie is a Concealed Carry License holder.

No one was hurt during the incident, which occurred in the 2000 block of South 20th Avenue.

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The suspects, who were masked, drove away in the Mercedes and a Dodge Durango SUV that they used to box in Lightford’s vehicle, authorities have said. The Mercedes has since been found, by police.

The case remains under investigation, and Broadview police were reviewing surveillance video in the area.

Lightford, a Maywood Democrat who has been in the state legislature since 1998, said in a statement Wednesday that she was “thankful that my husband and I are alive and physically unharmed.”

“I am trying to process the trauma of what happened,” she said, going on to thank Broadview’s mayor and police department “for their quick and thorough response.”

The carjacking occurred about 30 minutes after a Christmas event hosted by Broadview village officials took place close to the scene of the crime, Mills has said.

Carjackings in the town have been “minimal,” said Mills, a former top Chicago police official, but other parts of Cook County have been see a big uptick in those crimes.

Carjackings in Chicago, just east of Broadview, were up by about 32% through Sunday with 1,781, up from 1,352 during the same time in 2020.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department earlier this month acknowledged the steep rise in carjackings, with Sheriff Tom Dart sending letters to major automakers, asking them to collaborate on addressing the crime.

Dart has suggested automakers create a 24/7 hotline for motorists and law enforcement to contact if they need to track a stolen vehicle.

His office has also created a consent form that car owners can submit to the sheriff’s office, granting them permission to have their vehicle’s tracking information in case it gets stolen.

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