After LaShonda Hearts Killed, CBS 2 Considers ‘Extremely Dangerous Work’ as Money Transfer – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – The FBI is leading the hunt for a group of suspects who ambushed a pair of armed security agents Monday morning.
Shooting kills 47-year-old LaShonda Hearts, while she was doing what security experts call one of the most dangerous jobs. Her 46-year-old partner was taken to the University of Chicago hospital with two bullet wounds.
READ MORE: 2 men are charged with shooting, killing an armored vehicle guard and wounding another, and in the ensuing shooting, killing 2 of their own suspected accomplices
CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra talks more about how he’s doing. GuardaWorld said he is still at the hospital. They have not yet shared the severity of his injuries.
Investigators are also very tight-lipped about tracking down those suspects. CBS 2 started digging into the cash-transfer business, where the threat of violence was part of the job.
Friends of LaShonda Hearts say her job protecting armored trucks is an achievable goal.
“Our whole family always encouraged her to follow her dreams. And she did. She said she would do it, and she made it happen. That’s what she really aspires to do.”
She did it, knowing the risks. But not knowing it would cost her life.
“ATM machine maintenance is an extremely dangerous job.”
Jim McGuffey is a security expert who has been in the armored transport business for 26 years. Now he advises on best practices.
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“A person dedicated only to protecting the person who is servicing the ATM. Ideally, you have three people,” says McGuffey.
GardaWorld said Hearts, her 46-year-old partner, and a third were at work Monday morning, loading money into a Bank of America machine in West Chatham when two to four masked suspects ambushed them.
Two hits on the partner, six hits on Hearts. She later died at the University of Chicago Hospital. The third employee was not injured.
Back to March, another GardaWorld team was targeted while emptying an ATM in North Austin. No guards were injured, but one opened fire on the fleeing suspects.
“The payoff is not commensurate with the level of risk,” says McGuffey.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of armored vehicle guards is just over $35,500 a year in Chicago. That’s about $49,000 less than the median annual salary of a Chicago police officer. The Department of Transportation oversees trucking rules, but there is no industry-wide regulation of guard training.
“So you trust the service providers themselves to provide the training and equipment these frontline people need to do their jobs as safely as possible,” says McGuffey.
Monday’s ambush shows that danger is always possible. That’s a lesson the LaShonda Hearts family never hoped to learn.
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CBS 2 spoke with the Safe Cash and Transportation Association. It has members tracking attacks like this across the country. A representative for the organization said that while the number of incidents involving armored vehicles has not increased, the data shows the level of violence of each of these crimes, on a large scale.