By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Police here are continuing the investigation of the carjacking of an 86-year-old woman on March 15 that occurred in front of Ray’s Prime Foods.
Detectives received information on a possible suspect in the carjacking on Monday. They were attempting to locate the suspect when they received word that the suspect was killed in a shootout with Canadian National Railway Police at approximately 9 p.m. that day in Homewood, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
Taylor detective Cmdr. Don Helvey said police got a tip Monday morning about a suspect that matched a description they had been given by the victim. While they have not yet verified that the man who was killed, Robert Craig Sherrill, a 48-year-old parole absconder from Detroit, was in fact the carjacker, several facts have led them to believe he that committed the crime.
The Taylor incident, in which the car’s owner was nearly run over by the carjacker after she had managed to get out, happened March 15. Sherrill didn’t check into the group home he was paroled to last Sunday, Helvey said, andl also failed to meet with his parole officer. Additionally, police found a bus ticket on Sherrill’s property.
According to reports, the CN officers were called on word of a suspicious person hiding in bushes near a commuter rail station. When they encountered the man, he ran from them. An officer was able to pull a patrol vehicle in front of Sherrill, who then pulled a handgun and fired a shot at police. Officers returned fire, striking and killing him.
Taylor police are working with the CN Railway Police as well as the Illinois State Police. At the time of the shooting, Sherrill’s identity was unknown to CN police, as were the efforts of Taylor police to locate him in Michigan; CN police later identified him.
“The more and more we look at it, the more it leads us to believe it could be him,” Helvey said.
Taylor police are planning to travel to Chicago to check clothes, DNA and personal effects to confirm their suspicions.
“We’re still pursuing this as though we’re going to be charging him,” Helvey said.
He believes that Sherrill had made it to the Chicago area and may have run out of money and was hiding in the bushes while waiting for a chance to try to board a train.
“We’re continuing to follow up leads,” Helvey said of the investigation. “We want to make sure that this is our defendant, but we’re pretty sure that it is.”