Sketch of Tinley Park shooter

February 9, 2008 9:03:07 PM PST
For the first time we have a look at a composite sketch of the man who murdered five women in a Tinley Park clothing store.

Police released the image Saturday night - one week after the crime. It came on the same day that three of the victims were laid to rest.

It is a somewhat ordinary looking face but a few distinguishing features including cornrows and braid that hangs down over a cheek.

The artist rendering has been in the works for a week and police hope it will be the break they need to bring this killer to justice.

The sketch came from the memory of the lone surviving victim. That sole survivor has been working with police since last Saturday to transfer the image burned in her memory to paper and on to the public.

Police say they took their time so as to not hurt the victim further. "The victim has been traumatized and her emotional state has to stabilize before we can actually discuss descriptions of that sort," said Tinley Park Police Cmdr. Rick Bruno.

The computer generate image features a frontal view of the suspect, plus a side view revealing three-to-five "puffy" corn rows and a single strand of four green beads that hung down in front of the man's right ear.

Overall, he's described as an African-American, between 5-9 and six feet tall, weighing 200-to-230 pounds. The man's thick braided hair was also receding.

Police were back out at the Brookside Marketplace shopping center this morning... handing out flyers with the suspect's description.

It comes after an intense search Friday for the 40-caliber semi-automatic gun used to kill the five women and injure a sixth. "The crime lab continues to evaluate a large quantity of evidence at scene and we continue to receive phone tips and leads on the 24-hour hotline," Cmdr Bruno said.

Three of the victims were laid to rest Saturday. 600 people gathered to remember store manager Rhoda McFarland, a recently engaged former Air Force nurse and pastor who is remembered for always helping others.

"She's gone to a better place. Hope that everyone will want to take the life that Rhodie did," said Marionette Gray, Rhoda McFarland's Relative.

Mourners also gathered to pay their respects to Connie Woolfolk, a mother of two boys from south suburban Flossmoor.

"We're just going to miss my sister's character, she was a beautiful person, no matter who you were? you loved her," said Aaron Woolfolk, Victim's Brother.

At 22, Sarah Szafranski was the youngest victim. A paralegal who graduated from Oak Forest High School and Northern Illinois University.

"As soon as I found out about the shooting and then finding out it hits this close to home, it just put a whole new spin on it and it's just awful," Donnie Slattery Szafrankski's Friend.

Tinley Park police say they've received more than 200 tips.

If anything about the composite sketch of the suspect seems familiar to you, police want to hear about it. The tip line number is 708-444-5394.

There is a $55,000 dollar reward for information that leads to an arrest.