Sheriff: Shooting spree suspect 'armed, dangerous'

October 6, 2010 12:21:36 PM PDT
Police say a gunman who fatally shot a construction worker and wounded two others in Illinois and Indiana remains on the run.

"We have a very dangerous situation. The suspect is still at large and armed and dangerous," said Lake County, Ind., Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez.

Anyone who spots the suspect should seek safety and call 911.

Police say the suspect- described as a heavyset, 5'8" tall, 230 pound white male in his 40s with short brown hair who is wearing a light green windbreaker, baseball hat and jeans- approached a construction crew with Rich Construction of Dyer, Ind., at a home at 3200-block of Stony Island Ave. in Washington Township, which is near Beecher, Ill., and shot three of the workers around 10:30 a.m. Forty-five-year-old Rolando Alonso of Hammond, Ind., died and 19-year-old Joshua Garza of Dyer, Ind., was critically injured and airlifted to Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Ill.

"He's not doing so well. Hopefully he'll put through. He's a strong kid, he's a fighter," said Tom Mattingly, friend. "He got shot in the head."

A third construction worker fled to a nearby cornfield.

"The suspect was at the house twice. He had come one time to see if they were going to sell, the residents who were apparently rehabbing a burned out residence. He then left and returned to the house and talked to them about some materials like paneling or plywood at which time he opened fire," said Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas.

The suspect is believed to be driving a light-colored, older model pickup truck- possibly a Ford F150 or Chevy Cheyenne. He then crossed the state line from Will County, Ill., into Lake County, Indiana, where he shot a farmer, identified by officials as 64-year-old Keith Dahl, in the town of Lowell near Cline Avenue and Route 2 around 11:30 a.m. Dahl, who was hit by three bullets in the arm, elbow and shoulder, is hospitalized in stable condition and expected to recover.

The suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous, had a conversation with Dahl before shooting the farmer.

"Apparently he said he raised bees and he wanted a location in that general location to raise hives," said Sheriff Kaupas of the suspect. "The farmer agreed he would entertain the thought and asked for the guy's name and phone number and wrote it on a scratch piece of paper and handed it to the farmer and opened fire."

"Why did they stop here and shoot him? That doesn't make sense. What's here? What would possess a guy to shoot somebody here on Cline Avenue?" said Rich Oostman, resident.

"This was totally random. It does not appear that anyone at the scene knew him," sheriff spokesman Pat Barry said in a published report.

"Obviously we have no motive. It doesn't look like there's any correlation with motive even if there was one at this location (in Illinois) versus Indiana. Looks like a random shooter," said Sheriff Kaupas.

Sheriff Dominguez said his officers were engaged in a "massive manhunt" for the suspect and an All Points Bulletin was issued.

"We've got all the doors locked, shades drawn, making sure we're a little more cautious about who's coming up and down the road," said Joe Dewes, neighbor.

The suspect is believed to be using a revolver- a Colt 38 or 357- because there are no shell casings at either of the scenes, Sheriff Dominguez said.

Tri-Creek Schools put all five of its schools-- a high school, middle school and three elementary schools-- on lockdown as a precautionary measure after receiving a call from the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

"We were told to lock the schools as a precaution," Tri-Creek Superintendent Alice Nea said to AP. "No one has tried to get into any of our buildings."

"Our principal said there is somebody dangerous in the area and we need to be really cautious. They had teachers stay by the doors to make sure no one would come in," said Brigitte Dewes, Lowell High School senior.

Sheriff Dominguez wants residents to know "24/7, we will be out looking for him? We are making every effort to apprehend this person. All of our police equipment and personnel is out to apprehend him."

Sheriff Dominguez said residents should take precautions and call 911 if they see something suspicious or think they know who this may be.

"Everybody is talking about it in the line and that. And some people said they weren't going home and just going to go elsewhere until they knew that it was safe," said one parent. "We're going home. We'll let the dog protect us."


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