5 dead in Chicago-area store shooting
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Five women are reported dead after a shooting at a strip mall in suburban Chicago, Illinois, and police are searching for the perpetrator, who they say fled the scene. According to police, the shooting may have been part of a botched robbery.
The shooting took place at a Lane Bryant clothing store in Tinley Park, a suburb of Chicago. Tinley Park police Sgt. T.J. Grady says a 911 call reported the shooting at 10:44 a.m. When police arrived, they found all five victims lying in a back room of the store.
Other stores in the strip mall, including a Target, were temporarily locked down as police officers — armed with pistols and rifles — searched for the gunman.
|This kind of violence is unacceptable — not just in a shopping center where we're supposed to feel safe, but wherever it occurs.|
"Every store was immediately canvassed and a search by air too has given us every indication that the offender has left the scene," Grady said.
Selena Kujawa, who was inside the Target with her 5-year old son when police entered, said, "I was so scared I couldn't think."
Grady did not identify the names of the victims, as their families are still in the process of being notified. However, the victims have now been identified as ranging between ages 22 and 37, and at least one is believed to be a store employee.
He described the shooter as an African-American man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 230 and 260 pounds. He was reportedly wearing a black coat, a knit cap, and dark jeans. Grady believes the shooter is no longer in the immediate area.
Tinley Park police chief Mike O'Connell said that more information would be made available Sunday afternoon, when forensic exams have been completed.
"This is a very serious and sensitive investigation," O'Connell said.
Illinois senator and Chicago resident Barack Obama released the following statement addressing the shootings: "I was deeply saddened to learn about the shooting in Tinley Park, and my heart goes out to the victims' families. This kind of violence is unacceptable — not just in a shopping center where we're supposed to feel safe, but wherever it occurs. And as the facts become clear, I hope the authorities find and prosecute whoever is responsible for this tragedy."