Still no charges in hospital standoff

Parents' murder reportedly linked
September 23, 2009 2:18:09 PM PDT
A man who holed up at a VA hospital for eight hours Wednesday morning may be responsible for a double homicide, police said. The gunman walked into the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center on South Damen around 1:20 a.m. Police said he demanded help, fired a shot into the ceiling and then barricaded himself inside a room.

The standoff with police lasted for about 8 hours during which time the man- who has not been identified because he has not been charged- said he did not want to hurt anyone- but needed help. He also reportedly told a hospital worker he'd just shot his parents.

That statement led police to the 2200-block of South Kildare, where two bodies were found. The victims have been identified as Joe and Johnnie Washington, both in their early 70s. They had lived in the home for years and their son, an ex-Marine, had been with them there for about 5 years, neighbors said.

"Yeah, he always hung around in the back trying to sell vehicles or something. Other than that, everybody (was) friendly," said Kelly Lewis, neighbor. "? everybody around there, you know, was nice people."

Neighbors also said the son has a history of trouble, and, according to the VA hospital, he was being treated there for mental health issues.

Published reports quote another son of the couple saying the suspect was "not a monster". He apparently enjoyed fishing with his father and often shared their catch.

"He helped me and he was a nice handyman. I loved the both of them real good neighbors," said William Kelly.

That profile of the quiet, caring couple is repeated by several onlookers. Also, neighbors lament that their block will be hard pressed to retain its character of innocence within the tough West Side that they cherish

"Anytime you have a tragedy like this on a block, it's always going to stick in the back of your mind and probably adjust now you're living or living with the people around you," said Phyllis Conley, neighbor.

"It shocked me. Because I heard firecrackers last night. I thought it was firecrackers, not knowing it was gunshots," said Kelly Lewis.


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