4 people shot dead, gunman on the run after shooting at Oakbrook Center

Buyers and workers of Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, took cover or quickly locked himself in the latest Christmas shopping rush on Thursday night as two men started a shootout indoors, injuring three nearby women.

One of the shooters was injured and is in hospital, a companion of one of the shooters is in custody and the other shooter is on the run, the Oak Brook police chief said, James Kruger.

Kruger described the third suspect only as a man in a “puffy blue coat” wearing a mask. Police released a surveillance photo showing the person walking with the companion who is now in custody.

Authorities are looking for the man on the right in the puffy blue coat after Thursday night’s shooting at Oakbrook Center.
– Courtesy of Oak Brook Police

Kruger said an officer working on vacation at the Nordstrom store heard gunshots in the eastern part of the mall, in the hallway of the Ann Taylor store, around 5:45 p.m. and called for help.

“There were two subjects who exchanged gunfire,” he said.

The pair rushed into the Nordstrom store trying to escape, Kruger said.

Three women were hit by stray gunshots: two in their 40s each shot once in a thigh, and one in her 20s shot in her right foot. They were not involved in the shooting, Kruger said.

The gunman in custody is a man in his 30s who was shot four times – one in each thigh, once in his right calf and once in his lower back – and underwent surgery, Kruger said. The four injured were taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove with non-life threatening injuries.

“We understand that the two suspects involved in the shooting knew each other and shot each other,” he said.

Another person, a woman in her twenties, broke her ankle while trying to flee the scene. She was being treated at Elmhurst Hospital in Elmhurst.

Police have the suspect’s vehicle unharmed in custody, Kruger said.

He said about 100 officers from various police departments in the area were at the scene, including all staff from the Oak Brook Police Department, to clean up the mall.

At 11 p.m., there were still buyers and store members inside, police said. Earlier, Kruger said, police had asked people inside to take shelter in place to make sure the fleeing suspect was not still in the mall. Police set up a family reunification site at the Marriott Hotel near the 22nd Street Mall.

Shortly after the shooting, people posted on social media that they were locked in stores. Outside the mall, police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the exits.

Witnesses said shoppers panicked to hide in shops and restaurants when gunshots rang out.

Chicago resident Martrice Hatcher, an Express employee, said the shooting started with Nordstrom and continued all the way to Aunt Ann’s pretzel store and “our store, Express, which is in the middle of Nordstrom. and Aunt Ann, ”she said.

“All I know is I heard two gunshots and heard a brief moment of silence. And then after that I saw everyone running around and panicking and just trying to pull together their children.

“It was pretty scary. On my side of town I suffered gunshots, but I’ve never been this close, where I could actually see it happening in front of me,” Hatcher said. “It was really traumatic, because I have kids at home. I don’t like to hear or see children who are stressed or in distress.”

Viviana Salas, who works at the Express store, said she works in front of the store.

“All I hear are gunshots and people moving, screaming, screaming. At that point the store was closed,” she said.

Hatcher and Salas said they were locked in the store for two hours.

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso said he was shopping for a new phone with his 28-year-old daughter at the Apple store when she noticed a commotion and people rushing into the store. Someone shouted that there had been a shooting, and Apple employees quickly locked the store doors and led the 50 or so customers inside to the back and into a basement.

At 8:45 p.m., they were still there, waiting for the police to clear them.

Grasso praised the staff at Apple for the speed and efficiency with which they acted. Workers told him they trained for such an event, he said.

“It’s a sad situation in America that this can happen two days before Christmas,” Grasso said.

Kruger said the mall has a communications system that immediately sends an alert to all mall employees.

DuPage County Board member Pete DiCianni said he was shopping nearby in Elmhurst at the time of the shooting and saw police response.

A brother-in-law was shopping in Nordstrom at the time, and a cousin was out with his children and heard 15 gunshots, DiCianni said. None were injured.

“We have to send the message that we do not tolerate this kind of crime in our county,” said DiCianni.

Kruger said there had been an increased police presence in the mall since the Louis Vuitton store was robbed by a dozen people in mid-November. No one has been arrested in this case.

“Even though this incident happened, we had an officer within earshot who was there to respond immediately,” he said of Thursday’s shooting.

“This is just a very unfortunate incident that is completely irrelevant to our region. We would never have anything like it. It is very unfortunate, and we will do everything we can to make sure that nothing like this happens. reproduce, “Kruger said.

Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani said he was proud of the work being done by Oak Brook and the area police.

“It certainly took us by surprise, but our police officers acted quickly and responsively and made all possible arrests,” Lalmalani said. “My prayers are with those who have been hurt.”

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