First funeral held for store shooting victim

February 7, 2008 3:55:16 PM PST
The first funeral was held for a victim of the Tinley Park shooting Thursday. Carrie Chiusso was shopping at the Lane Bryant clothing store when she and four others were gunned down. The massive investigation into this crime has not let up.

Fifty detectives are now working the case and they are following up on more than 170 tips that have been phoned in to a hotline.

From the beginning, Tinley Park Police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force have worked on this case. Detectives have logged over 2,000 investigative hours. While this is a very public case, investigators say they are taking their time to check out every possible lead. What drives them is justice for the victims. In the task force squad room, a picture of each of the six victims is taped to the wall.

Family and friends follow Carrie Chiuso's casket as it was carried out of St. Joseph's Church in Homewood, the 33-year-old was remembered as an adoring wife who always put family first.

"They were married a year and half...Tony is crushed, he is lost without her, it's terrible," said Collette Bagwell, victim's friend.

Chuiso's second love was her job. She was a devoted social worker at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, the same school she graduated from in 1993. Her funeral was filled with students.

Sophomore Ivan Davis says Chuiso helped him through some very difficult times.

"She was like a mother to me. She saved my life," Davis said.

Chuiso and four other women were shot to death last Saturday during what police are calling a botched robbery at the Lane Bryant clothing store in Tinley Park.

A sixth woman survived. She has been working with police to come up with a composite sketch. But, because she is so emotionally traumatized, police are taking it slow.

"We're interviewing her in stages, and we have to proceed very carefully with that, due to her condition. ," said Cmdr. Rick Bruno, Tinley Park Police.

So far, the victim has been able to give police a pretty detailed description. Police are looking for a black male, between 25-35 years old, medium complexion, 5-feet-10-inches tall, large frame with his weight proportionate to size. He has three-to-five puffy corn rows, one with four light green beads. At the time, the crime was committed he was clean shaven. Police say it's possible his appearance has changed since last Saturday and it's quite possible the offender is no longer in the area.

"The general feeling that I have from the investigators and our police department is that he's long gone. But that's a gut feeling on their part," said Edward Zabrocki, Tinley Park mayor.

But, Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki and police say, that does not mean the suspect won't be caught. Investigators are looking at every possible lead.

"These gentlemen and ladies are slow and methodical. Slow and methodical. They're not leaving anything unturned," said Zabrocki.

Police are also asking for anyone who may have been in the area of the Brookside Marketplace between 9 and 11 Saturday morning to call the tip hotline at (708) 444-5394.

Meantime, police continue to look at surveillance video collected from stores in the area. Tinley Park's mayor is exploring the idea of mandating surveillance cameras at all businesses.