The Lane Bryant Shooting

The Illinois State police worked closely with the survivor to come up with a composite of the gunman
The Illinois State police worked closely with the survivor to come up with a composite of the gunman

The Lane Bryant shooting was an incident of mass murder and armed robbery at a Lane Bryant clothing outlet in the Brookside Marketplace in Tinley Park, Illinois, United States, a suburb of Chicago, that occurred on February 2, 2008. The shooting resulted in five fatalities, and the injury of another.

Police do not know the identity of the shooter. Police released a sketch of the suspect on February 11, 2008, receiving two dozen leads the first day.

Details

Four customers, a part-time employee, and the store manager, were taken to the back of the store and shot. Five of the women were killed; the part-time employee was wounded but survived. Police found the victims shortly after receiving an emergency call at 10:45 a.m. The gunman was described as a black man with thick, cornrowed hair and a receding hairline, along with one braid lying over the right side of his face at cheek level and decorated with four light-green beads on the end. Police believe it was a robbery “gone awry.”

The victims are:

  • Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor.

  • Sarah T. Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest.

  • Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort.

  • Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet, the store manager.

  • Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Indiana.

  • The identity of the survivor is protected by police and has not been released to the media.

The victims, except the survivor.
The victims, except the survivor.

Aftermath

The shopping center was closed and locked down while being searched. It was reopened after police found that the gunman had left the immediate area.

Then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who was elected President in November that year, released a statement following the killings:


I was deeply saddened to learn about the shooting in Tinley Park, and my heart goes out to the victims’ families. This kind of violence is unacceptable — not just in a shopping center where we’re supposed to feel safe, but wherever it occurs. And as the facts become clear, I hope the authorities find and prosecute whoever is responsible for this tragedy.

A $100,000 reward, half of which was donated by Lane Bryant’s parent company, Charming Shoppes Inc., was offered for information leading to the gunman’s arrest. On February 6, 2008, Lane Bryant announced the establishment of The Lane Bryant Tinley Park Memorial Fund in honor of the five women who were killed. Lane Bryant also offered to pay for the victims’ funerals.

The Steve Wilkos Show, being taped in Chicago, profiled the suspect of the shooting at the end of one episode since the incident.

The store building itself remained unused until November 2013, when T.J. Maxx took it over for use as a retail outlet.

Source

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