By Dee Longfellow

At about 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, shoppers at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook were interrupted and sent fleeing after gunshots were fired between two subjects.

One of the suspected gunmen was injured as well as three other people who were not connected with the suspects. The wounded gunman was taken into custody right away, but as of press time, the second suspect remained at large.

Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger told news outlets that three women had been shot in the incident but all were expected to survive, according to news reports from several sources including the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald and on all major television networks.

About 100 officers from various municipalities reportedly descended on the mall to help calm the situation and track down the second suspect. One witness over the radio said there was a “sea of police cars.”

Inside the mall area, which is outdoors, people ran for safety. The mall was placed on lockdown and SWAT and tactical teams searched every store in the center, eventually completing a search of the entire mall, turning it back to mall management at about 11:55 p.m.

Some shoppers were found hiding inside some of the stores where employees had invited them to come in for safety, Kruger said.

Witnesses reported hearing 15 total gunshots. Kruger said two pistols were recovered including a 9mm handgun.

In a press conference on Thursday, Kruger said the two suspects shooting at one another were familiar with each other. The other victims were injured by ricochet gunfire from the two shooters. Kruger reported that two of the injured women in their 40s and had received gunshot wounds in their thighs, while another woman in her 20s was shot in the foot. He also reported that a woman in her 20s had injured her ankle while trying to flee the area. All injured were treated at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

The wounded suspect who was taken into custody at the scene underwent surgery to treat four gunshot wounds to his back, calf and thighs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The shopping center reopened Friday, Dec. 24 with increased police presence.

At press time, the second suspect was still at large. Anyone who witnessed the shooting or attempted to alert police officers or security guards about the suspects as they fled is asked to email authorities at PoliceTipLine@oak-brook.org.

On Saturday, Dec. 25, DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin’s office issued a call for witnesses. The suspect is described as a black man with long, dark dreadlocks, a medium build and height, in his 30s. He was wearing a blue jacket at the time of the incident. Anyone who has seen the man or has any information is asked to call 630-368-8746.

Charges may be forthcoming but at press time, no names were released and no charges were announced.

 

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