Police: Man choked 8-year-old girl in South Loop Jason's Deli bathroom

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Reese Hartstirn | Cook County sheriff's office

A man choked an 8-year-old girl until she passed out inside the bathroom of a South Loop Jason's Deli last weekend, according to Chicago Police.

She was with her mother at the restaurant in the 1200 block of South Canal when the girl went to the bathroom alone about 1:15 p.m. on May 7, according to Chicago Police.

The woman then heard a scream from her daughter and went inside to find 33-year-old Reese M. Hartstirn carrying the unconscious girl into a stall, police said. He had choked her with his hands, police allege.

A Jason's Deli spokeswoman refuted the report that the girl lost consciousness. 

Other people in the store helped restrain the man until police arrived to arrest him. The girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, but police did not have information on her condition.

Jason's Deli released a statement on the incident on Friday:

"We’re blessed to have a wonderful relationship with the Chicago Police Department. Many of them are our customers and because of their connection to our deli, this unfortunate situation was handled very quickly. We’re proud of how our team members responded and thankful that we have the kind of customers that are willing to lend a hand in a difficult situation.We continue to work hard every day to make every customer happy"

Hartstirn, of the 500 block of North Racine, was charged with felony counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery of a child. He also faces misdemeanor counts of battery and aggravated assault of a peace officer for taking a swing at an officer who booked him at the Central District station, police said.

He was ordered without bond at a Monday hearing and is due back in court May 16, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.