Man charged with fatally stabbing bank worker in lobby of River North branch officeSun-Times Wireon September 3, 2021 at 10:10 pm

A man has been charged with fatally stabbing a bank worker in the lobby of a River North branch office Wednesday.

Jawaun Westbrooks, 35, faces one felony count of first-degree murder in the death of 24-year-old Jessica Vilaythong, Chicago police said.

Vilaythong was attacked around 11:10 a.m. Wednesday “after having a brief conversation” with a man inside the Chase Bank branch at 600 N. Dearborn St., police and fire officials said.

Westbrooks was allegedly identified as the suspect and officers took him into custody soon after the stabbing, police said.

Chase Bank closed the rest of their downtown branches Wednesday as a precaution, a spokesman said.

“We are devastated by the passing of our colleague Jessica Vilaythong and extend our deepest sympathies to her family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time,” the spokesman said. “Jessica was a wonderful person and valued employee. She was extremely outgoing, passionate, hardworking, and quick to help clients. We will miss her greatly.”

Westbrooks was expected to appear in court Saturday.

Westbrooks, whose family has said he struggles with mental illness, was accused in 2014 of attacking two women with a hammer as they walked on the lakefront path near Navy Pier.

He was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in that incident. Westbrooks was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court records.

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