By Nona Tepper
Forest Park police arrested a man in his 20s at Forest Home Cemetery after he reportedly displayed a "large gun," described as either a .40- or .45-caliber pistol, during a burial service at 863 Desplaines Ave. on June 3 at around 2 p.m.
While police say no shots were fired, witnesses said they saw at least 10 individuals pointing guns at one another. Police Chief Thomas Aftanas said charges are pending against the man who was arrested.
"We took him into custody and moved our squad cars as fast as we could to get these people out, to make sure the scene was safe," Aftanas said.
Aftanas said that at least 25 cars were attempting to exit Forest Home Cemetery onto Desplaines Avenue when police arrived, and that many of the vehicles had five passengers inside.
He said police saw the cars swerving through traffic, with passengers hanging out of windows. Officers recorded license plate numbers and will send the vehicle owners tickets in the mail for local ordinance violations.
Aftanas did not specify what violations they would be ticketed for. Often those found participating in rowdy funeral processions are ticketed for violating the village's funeral ordinance, which states "each driver in a funeral or other procession shall drive as near to the right hand edge of the roadway as practical and safe." They can also be ticketed for violating Forest Park's negligent driving ordinance.
"Everybody started to flee, it seems like, when these people started displaying guns so, at that point, the service was over, so everybody had to leave to go back to wherever they live at," Aftanas said.
He said Oak Park, River Forest and Berwyn police helped with traffic control on Desplaines Avenue, and that funeral attendees exited both southbound and northbound onto the street. Aftanas said he was unsure what funeral home the party originated from, and believed the service was being held for a gun violence victim.