Police: Man chokes 8-year-old girl unconscious in restaurant bathroom

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 21:05:05-04

CHICAGO — A man faces multiple charges after he allegedly choked an 8-year-old girl until she lost consciousness in the restroom of a Chicago restaurant last weekend.

The incident happened around 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Jason’s Deli along the 1200 block of South Canal Street in the South Loop neighborhood. According to police, the girl was inside the restaurant with her mother, but the two got separated and the girl went into the restroom.

33-year-old Reese Hartstirn entered the restroom and grabbed her, choking the girl until she passed out, police said.

Reese M. Hartstirn, 33

According to a release from the Chicago Police Department, Hartstirn picked up the girl’s limp body and carried her into a stall, then closed the door.

Police say when the girl’s mother came into the stall to rescue her daughter, Hartstirn shoved the woman.

Other people in the deli who found out what happened held Hartstirn until police officers could respond.

Officers took him to the First District police station, where he became aggressive and started swinging his fists at an officer, according to authorities.

The girl was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital for treatment, but officials have not updated her condition.

The release said that Hartstirn was charged with a felony count of aggravated kidnapping and a felony count of aggravated battery to a child under 13. He was also cited with a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault to a peace officer and a misdemeanor count of battery.

Jason’s Deli released a statement to WGN saying:

We’re blessed to have a wonderful relationship with the Chicago Police Department. Many of them are our customers and because of their connection to our deli, this unfortunate situation was handled very quickly. We’re proud of how our team members responded and thankful that we have the kind of customers that are willing to lend a hand in a difficult situation. We continue to work hard every day to make every customer happy.

A Cook County judge Monday ordered Hartstirn held without bail.

He is scheduled to appear in court May 16.

-The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.