Oak Forest, Illinois (WLS) – Four people were killed in Oak Forest after neighbors said a man was seen shooting family members outside his home before confining himself inside and setting the house on fire.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office identified the victims Friday afternoon as 22-year-old Briana Rodriguez, 20-year-old Emilio Rodriguez, 43-year-old Lupe Gomez and 44-year-old Carlos Gomez.
The Ring’s camera of the man next door captured video of the incident Friday morning at the 5500 block of Anne Marie Lane in Oak Forest.
ABC7 watched the video, which appeared to be a man shooting three people outside the house while one of them escapes. The man can then be seen returning home and barricading himself inside, then setting the house on fire.
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“I see full post from upstairs,” said neighbor Jake Bitner. “…I knew something was wrong right away.”
Neighbors said they were awakened by more than a dozen gunshots around 6:30 a.m., and Oak Forest police said they initially responded to an internal disturbance that included reporting gunfire in the area around 7 a.m.
When they arrived, police said they found two victims with two bullets in the driveway and a third on the road south of the house.
Oak Forest police pulled the victims into their squad cars while the suspect was still at the scene. Police said they were taken to local hospitals but later died of their injuries.
On the other hand, the suspect was still inside the house when the police said that a minor had been safely taken to the police before the fire broke out.
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Police initially asked residents living in the area to take shelter, but said there was no longer a danger to the community around 10 a.m.
Neighbors said the family lived in the house for about eight years and there was some recent history of problems there but no one imagined it would end like this.
“A normal family just like us,” said neighbor Cody Wilson. “The family was dealing with some things and it got this far.”
“Neighbours there were also shocked,” added Sheryl Wilson. “They don’t understand what happened.”
A neighbor said the family had acted strangely in recent weeks, and said he had heard a lot of arguing and screaming. He said the police had been called to the house before.
“We kind of just sat here and watched it unfold in disbelief,” Jake Bitner said. “It’s a hell of a way to wake up.”
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Emergency crews were on site all morning and headed inside to investigate once the fire was out.
There, they found the fourth deceased person, believed to be the suspect. A pistol was also found at the scene.
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The neighbors are really devastated and shocked by what happened.
“We just ask that everyone pray for the family,” Wilson said.
Oak Forest High School canceled its homecoming parade on Friday, citing an “ongoing incident in the community.”
After spending most of the day in soft lockdown, the students and staff soon discover that some of their peers – both old and current – are involved in the tragedy.
In fact, the students said that one of the surviving family members is a current student and would have been on the sidelines with the school’s cheerleading team.
Mia Earl said, “Everyone in this school felt for that family. It frustrated everyone! Nobody was able to really focus. Not all of the teachers did anything really in the classes because everyone was so sad about what happened to this family.”
Neighbors said at least one surviving family member was a student at Oak Forest High School. Two of the dead are graduates, Bremen County High School 228 Supt. Brad Sikora said in a written statement.
“You never know what’s going on in someone’s house, or what they’re going through,” Earl said.
Oak Forest High School and other District 228 schools will have counselors available to meet with any student or staff member who needs support.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Ryan Burnett at Oak Forest Police Department at 7086871376 or email@example.com.
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