Man taken into custody after rowdy funeral at Forest Home

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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.

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Reader Comments

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Petra B Donyale from forest park  

Posted: June 5th, 2019 11:03 AM

gang doubt.

Chuck Taddeo  

Posted: June 3rd, 2019 8:45 PM

Forest Home Cemetery has to know who the director was that led this procession. All the towns that have to deal with this reoccurring problem need to get together and come up with stricter fines for offenders. We need to keep tabs on any procession that comes through our town so we can identify directors that have a history of leading uncontrolled processions. At least 10 people pointing guns at each other. Sounds like chaos. The only charges mentioned were negligent driving? We have big problems in Mayberry. Keep away from the windows in your house when a funeral goes by, you just don't know when an OK Corral situation is going to break out.

Cathryn Moore  

Posted: June 3rd, 2019 5:55 PM


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