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Vietnam veteran dies of heart attack after attempted carjacking in Chicago

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:26 AM CDT
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CHICAGO (WLS) - A Marine Corps veteran died just days short of his 74th birthday when attackers in Chicago beat him up while trying to steal his car.

Keith Cooper, 73, survived two combat tours as a Marine in Vietnam, only to be killed in broad daylight while running errands in his neighborhood. Police say two people demanded Cooper’s car then attacked him, repeatedly punching him in the head, around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“I’m just in shock. I’m still in shock because this is not the way I thought my day was going to go,” said Cooper’s daughter, Kenika Carlton.

Keith Cooper, a 73-year-old Marine Corps veteran, died of a heart attack after two attempted...
Keith Cooper, a 73-year-old Marine Corps veteran, died of a heart attack after two attempted carjackers attacked him. He served two combat tours in Vietnam.(Source: Family photos, WLS via CNN)

Cooper didn’t survive, despite the efforts of witnesses to fight off the attackers. His family says his heart couldn’t take the trauma, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital after suffering a heart attack.

“Tried to steal his car. You didn’t even get his car when you took his life,” said Cooper’s son-in-law, Curtis Carlton. “It was two guys preying on a senior citizen.”

Police say two people were taken into custody and are being questioned regarding the attack. They credit the witnesses for helping them track down the suspects so quickly.

Though it wasn’t enough to save Cooper, a beloved father and grandfather, his family is still grateful.

“He was like a bonus dad. He was my father-in-law, but he was like a dad,” Curtis Carlton said. “He was the best. Keith was the best.”

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