By DAVID MENDELL
CHICAGO - Law enforcement authorities scoured the Chicago region on Sunday for a man who allegedly abducted his estranged girlfriend and their four children from a Northwest Indiana home, apparently after twice shooting a friend of his girlfriend's sister.
Police in Elkhart, Ind., issued an Amber Alert and called on Chicago police and the FBI to help in the manhunt for Jerry D. White, 30.
About 2 a.m. Saturday, White broke into the Elkhart home of his estranged girlfriend, Kimberly N. Walker, 31, and their four children, police said. He then shot the boyfriend of Walker's sister and held everyone as hostages until about 11:30 a.m., when he fled with Walker and their children, authorities said.
The boyfriend is hospitalized in critical but stable condition with two gunshot wounds, Elkhart Police Sgt. Bill Wargo said.
As police searched Elkhart and the neighborhood on Chicago's West Side where White grew up, a cousin of White's pleaded publicly for him to come forward. She said her cousin is not a violent person, but conceded the relationship between him and Walker was less than perfect.
"They are saying that Jerry is armed and dangerous. Not Jerry," said Brenda White, 45, of the West Side. "He would not harm anyone."
She said family members have been desperately trying to find White and that he has not called anyone in the family.
"We are all trying to locate him and let him know that he is welcome to contact us in some kind of way," Brenda White said. "If he feels we are mad at him, I know he won't do it. We want to take him to the police to get this over with."
White's cousin said the relationship between her cousin and Walker was combative, but White remained loyal to her and his four children, who range in age from 16 months to 9 years old. The couple met in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago and moved to Elkhart when White found a job there, his cousin said.
Police, however, said White had been harassing Walker for several days. Walker's sister and boyfriend were at the home because Walker feared for her safety, police said. White has a criminal history that includes a felony conviction on domestic battery involving Walker, Wargo said.
Elkhart police initially did not realize that White was holding people at the home, authorities said. Walker's sister finally was able to call police after White fled from the 9-hour hostage saga with Walker and his children held at gunpoint, police said.
Elkhart police named White in a warrant that stated they are seeking him for attempted murder and several counts of confinement.
"We want to find Jerry safe and sound," Brenda White said. "We are afraid the worst will happen to him on the street."
(Chicago Tribune correspondent Andrew L. Wang contributed to this report.)
(c) 2007 Chicago Tribune.