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Gun jams, so carjack victim lives

Updated: July 15, 2011 12:01AM

Face down on the floor with a carjacker’s gun in the back of his head, Steve Bader was sure he was going to die.

Just moments before, the carjacker’s hood had slipped, revealing his face. Now, aiming to kill the witness, the gunman pulled the trigger.

“It has to have been a sign from Jesus that his gun jammed,” a still shocked Bader, 24, said Sunday of his Saturday ordeal in Far South Side Hegewisch. “I knew I was going to die.”

Rondell Agee, 23, of Coralville, Iowa, appeared in court Sunday, charged with two counts of vehicular hijacking. Prosecutors allege he was one of four gunmen who carjacked Bader and his cousin Walid Haddad outside Haddad’s home in the 12900 block of South Muskegon, taking Bader’s 2003 Mercedes E-class sedan.

Haddad and Bader had enjoyed an evening at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond and were headed home when four men jumped them and ordered them at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, said Haddad, who was kicked several times in the chest by the carjackers.

When Agee’s hood slipped revealing his face to Bader, Agee attempted to shoot him but his gun jammed, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Denise Loiterstein said.

Agee attempted several times to free his gun’s action as Bader pleaded for his life, Haddad said. Unable to get the gun to fire and worried after his accomplices had fled in the Mercedes and a second getaway car, Agee eventually ran away, Loiterstein said.

Police on a routine patrol on 127th Street Saturday evening spotted Agee driving the Mercedes without a seatbelt, according to a police report. When they pulled him over and noted that he matched the description of the carjacker, he claimed the car was a gift from his brother, Tony, but was arrested, according to the report.

The victims later identified Agee in a lineup, Loiterstein said.

Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered Agee held on bail of $500,000 Sunday.

“If the gun had worked we’d both be dead,” Haddad said later. “We’re still shaken up.”

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