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Man held without bond in hammer attack on women near Navy Pier

Jawaun Westbrooks is accused attacking two women with hammer lakefront path near Navy Pier. |  Chicago Police photo

Jawaun Westbrooks is accused of attacking two women with a hammer on a lakefront path near Navy Pier. | Chicago Police photo

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Updated: July 13, 2014 9:24AM

A man whose family said he struggles with mental illness was ordered held without bond Thursday for allegedly attacking two suburban women with a hammer as they walked on the lakefront bike path near Navy Pier.

One victim required 25 to 30 stitches in her head after Jawaun Westbrooks hit her Tuesday evening, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

The other woman suffered bruises following the attack in the 400 block of North Lake Shore Drive, Scaduto said.

Westbrooks’ older brother Corneal said his sibling was diagnosed with bipolar depression and schizophrenia in 2004 and refuses to take his medication.

Just last week, Jawaun Westbrooks had been hospitalized but left the facility early, the older Westbrooks said.

“My mother attempted to have him committed a week ago and was told that because he is an adult there is nothing that can be done,” Corneal Westbrooks said.

“He needs help.”

Corneal Westbrooks, who lives in New Orleans, said he and his relatives family feel terrible for the women who were injured.

The women, both 55, were walking south on lower Lake Shore Drive at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when Jawaun Westbrooks, who was walking north, approached and whacked them on the top of their heads with the hammer, Scaduto said.

Jawaun Westbrooks ran away but after witnesses called 911, he was quickly arrested, Scaduto said.

The women were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. They initially were listed in serious condition and have been upgraded to fair, police said.

Police called it an “isolated incident” and said the women did not know the suspect.

Jawaun Westbrooks listed his address as being in the 400 block of East Ohio Street, but his brother said his family has not lived there in the last few years. Jawaun Westbrooks, who once dreamed of playing in the NBA, had been recently living with his grandmother in Old Town, his brother said.

While in court Thursday, Jawaun Westbrooks, dressed in a paper gown, said he didn’t understand the allegations against him and told Judge Peggy Chiampas he didn’t know his assistant public defender.

As he was being led away, he also scolded a sheriff’s deputy, saying, “Don’t touch me.”

Jawaun Westbrooks faces two felony counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The 28-year-old man has two convictions for aggravated battery to a police officer and an attempted robbery conviction. Jawaun Westbrooks was released on parole last month for the attempted robbery and his latest aggravated battery to a police officer conviction, Scaduto said.

Corneal Westbrooks said his brother has been in trouble with the law ever since he was diagnosed with his illnesses.

In his past criminal cases, he takes a plea deal because he “has no clue what is going on and only want to be free,” Corneal Westbrooks, 34, said.


Twitter: @rummanahussain

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