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Mag Mile bathroom attacker released on parole a week before he went after suburban doc

The Grill 909 N. Michigan. Monday November 19 2012 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

The Grill, 909 N. Michigan. Monday, November 19, 2012 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

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Updated: December 21, 2012 6:13AM

Jimmy Harris, who has been arrested dozens of times in his life, was only out of prison a week before he allegedly stabbed a 67-year-old Oak Brook oncologist in a North Michigan Avenue restaurant bathroom Saturday evening.

Cook County Judge Ed Harmening on Monday ordered Harris, 56, held without bond, after prosecutors said no amount of bail would be sufficient to protect the community from the accused, who was released from prison on parole Nov. 9, for an armed robbery conviction.

In that case, Harris used a broken bottle to cut his victim during a retail theft, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during Harris’ bond hearing.

Harris is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint in Saturday’s attack on Dr. Mir Jafar Shah, who was having dinner with his family at a restaurant at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago Hotel after going downtown for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

Scaduto said Harris stabbed Shah in the face while he was at a bathroom urinal, and when Shah tried to scream for help, his attacker punched him. Harris also dragged Shah back into the bathroom, when he tried to escape, Scaduto said.

Shah eventually got away, and a bartender at the Westin was stabbed in the chest when he chased after Harris, prosecutors say.

Shah’s family said he was fortunate to be near Northwestern Memorial Hospital after he escaped the “surprise, unprovoked attack.”

“This was an enjoyable night out for the family [that] turned horribly tragic,” said Mahin Samadani, Shah’s son-in-law, in a statement from the family. “But it could have been much, much worse.”

The family said Shah was expected to make a full recovery. The bartender didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

Police found Harris inside the nearby Cheesecake Factory restaurant, where he was washing his hands, according to a police report. Investigators searched one of the stalls, where they found a knife with bloodstains as well as a “crack pipe” and a black bag.

Cesar Gonzalez and Nancy Camacho, who both live on the South Side, said they were on their way to an 8 p.m. reservation at a nearby restaurant when they saw a man and police.

“We just heard someone say, ‘He has the wallet,’” Gonzalez said.

Camacho said she saw an apparent employee from the Westin run to the corner of Michigan and Delaware, jump up and kick the suspect with a “karate move.”

“He jumped up and kicked him,” she said.

“They fell and we saw the knife,” said Gonzalez, 29, who added that the knife was about six inches long.

Bystanders looked on as yellow tape blocked off a portion of the hotel outside. Blood was visible on the ground. The tape was removed around 10:20 p.m., and a worker used a power washer to clean the blood.

Gonzalez said he is now is keeping his wallet in his vest pocket.

“That’s crazy,” he said.

Camacho, 30, added, “There’s so many people around so many kids. It’s just sad.”

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

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