Three people were injured in three separate shooting incidents in Forest Park on Jan. 11 a surge of gun violence that prompted Mayor Rory Hoskins to release a video reassuring residents that the village remains a safe place.
In his video released Wednesday afternoon, Hoskins said all three shootings were believed to be related and that, “we feel that the general public is not in danger and is not threatened by [Tuesday]’s shootings.”
“After having examined all the available evidence and interviewed witnesses, and then re-interview witnesses in some cases, the police department has determined that all three shootings arose out of a very particular dispute,” Hoskins said in a video filmed near the site of the day’s first shooting at the intersection of Desplaines Avenue and Harrison Street.
Earlier Wednesday, police department officials confirmed the first two incidents were related since a boyfriend and girlfriend were each injured in separate shootings, both on Harrison Street. No one was injured in the third shooting, which occurred late Tuesday night and left a residence in the 600 block of Harlem Avenue riddled with bullets.
As of Wednesday, no one had been arrested in any of the incidents and Hoskins urged residents or business owners near the crime scenes to turn over any surveillance video, including video from doorbell cameras, to law enforcement.
Hoskins also used the opportunity Wednesday to promote the village’s forthcoming video surveillance system that was approved at the village council meeting on Jan. 10. The new 11-camera system will cover most of the village’s highest-trafficked areas and Hoskins said the cameras will be installed “in the coming months” to give law enforcement a major leg up in solving cases like these three shootings.
“These cameras are intended to provide, to some extent a deterrent effect, but [also] an ability to help us investigate crimes that occurred in Forest Park,” he said. “These are very high-resolution cameras that can zero in and grab license plate numbers, peer into vehicles and possibly help identify occupants.”
Tuesday’s three shootings
The first shooting took place early Tuesday morning, around 5:15 a.m., as a pregnant 19-year-old woman was driving home from her first day of work. When the woman stopped at a red light at the intersection of Harrison and Desplaines Avenue, a white Jeep SUV turned alongside her car and someone inside opened fire.
The woman was shot in the thigh but drove to her home on Desplaines after the shooting before calling police. She was later taken to the hospital for evaluation. She told police she could not identify the shooter.
When police arrived at the woman’s home, her boyfriend — who was the registered owner of the vehicle the woman was driving — was there. He told officers he was not in the car at the time of the shooting. Police recovered several 9 mm shell casings from the shooting scene.
Later Tuesday, around 2:30 p.m., three people, including the first victim’s boyfriend, were in a vehicle traveling near the intersection of Harrison and Circle Avenue when a light-colored SUV pulled alongside them and someone inside opened fire.
The three occupants of the car fired upon near Harrison and Circle drove themselves to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where at least one of the three was interviewed by police.
One of the occupants had been shot in the triceps. Another occupant of the vehicle was shot in the abdomen and was unable to speak to officers while undergoing “extensive medical treatment,” according to a police report.
Again in that case, the targets of the shooting said they did not know who had shot at them and could not provide vehicle description. Officers identified a “light-colored SUV” as the source of the gunfire based on surveillance footage from a nearby business.
Forest Park police at the scene of the second shooting, at Harrison and Circle, recovered at least 11 shell casings and an extended handgun magazine. The shell casings recovered at that scene also came from a 9 mm weapon, although it is undetermined whether it is the same weapon used in the earlier shooting.
Finally, a little after 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officers were called to the 600 block of Harlem Avenue, near the intersection of Harlem and Interstate 290, after residents reported hearing numerous shots fired.
Officers made their way to a rear entrance of the residence and saw significant evidence of gunfire, apparently coming from the alley. In total, they found seven bullet holes in the rear entrance door and additional evidence of at least four more shots fired into the walls and windows. No one was injured.
The residents of the home said they did not know who had a motive to shoot at them and did not know why they were targeted.
It is unclear how the third shooting is related to the first two incidents. Bullets and shell casings discovered at the Harlem Avenue crime scene also came from a 9 mm weapon.
Anyone with video footage that could assist law enforcement, or who has additional information that could be valuable to the investigation, is asked to call the Forest Park Police Department at 708-366-2425.