Reporting Brad Edwards
CHICAGO (CBS) – For the first time, an Oak Brook oncologist was speaking out about being stabbed inside a Michigan Avenue hotel after attending the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in November.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports Dr. Mir Shah was on a trip downtown with his family, at the start of the holiday season at the time. It was a five-star experience for which he said he almost paid with his life.
Shah has sued Jimmy Harris, the man charged with stabbing him, and the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago Hotel, as well as The Grill on the Alley restaurant at the hotel.
The lawsuit alleges the hotel and restaurant failed to make proper security checks, and allowed unauthorized people to gain access to the facilities.
“There’s absolutely no security at the Westin Hotel,” said Shah’s attorney, Doug Petrovic. “Not only do they not have any security, they should have beefed up their security on that particular evening.”
Petrovic said there are typically thousands of people walking up and down that stretch of Michigan Avenue on any given day, taking advantage of Magnificent Mile shopping, and many thousands more on the day of the Lights Festival.
Harris had been released from parole a week before the attack, and has a criminal record with dozens of entries dating back decades.
Shah said a hotel in such a prominent location should have better security.
“This hotel is a five-star hotel that I entered into. One assumes that … there should be some security system there in place, and not allow such incidences to take place. If it doesn’t have happen in the crown jewel of Chicago – Magnificent Mile hotels – then where else can one expect such a high degree of security?”
Shah was stabbed in a restroom at The Grill after attending the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. His family was having dinner at The Grill when Shah went to the restroom, where Harris stabbed him during what police said was a robbery attempt.
“I could feel warm blood running down my arm, so that was a very, very horrifying experience for me,” Shah said.
He was bleeding out after he was stabbed in the eye, cheek, and throat. His external jugular vein had been severed.
Harris allegedly came at Shah from behind as he was using the restroom.
Shah said he said he screamed as loud as he could for help, and tried to fight off his attacker.
“I was able to keep him at an arm’s length, and I’m dragging him outside to the open, because I didn’t want to stay in the bathroom with him, because he was just waiting for me to collapse,” Shah said.
Had he not fought back, Shah believes, “most likely I would have been not sitting here.”
As it was, Shah estimated he lost two to three pints of blood. The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his or her body.
Shah said, after the attack, he was “extremely concerned” that he wouldn’t be able to practice medicine again.
“I was horrified,” he said.
Shah and Petrovic said one goal of the lawsuit is to make sure such an attack never happens again.
Westin officials declined to comment on the lawsuit on Tuesday, because they had not yet been served with a copy of the complaint.