Clergy pleads for help finding Tinley Park killer

February 18, 2008 4:07:53 PM PST
Authorities and members of the clergy are asking for help from the public to find the gunman who killed five women inside a Tinley Park clothing store more than two weeks ago.

They are hoping to generate new information in the case. The women were killed inside a Lane Bryant store on February 2.

A sixth victim survived. Investigators are hoping someone will come forward with more information that could help lead them to the killer. They are hoping a more detailed sketch of the gunman will help.

There were no breaks Monday in the ongoing investigation. But after several false starts, police maintain their investigation is not stalled. However, once again their asking for the public's help, this time with a group of local pastors who are appealing to the conscious of the public -- while pleading for any tip, lead or bit of information that will catch a killer.

Local clergy joined Tinley Park Police Monday in their hunt for a killer.

"If you're holding someone who committed this crime you are just as guilty as he is. My prayer is you release him," said Apostle Ron Wilson, Full Gospel Christian Assembly International Church.

More than two weeks after the savage murders of five women inside this Lane Bryant clothing store, the investigation into the tragedy appears slowed as detectives struggle with fragments of evidence hoping to identify a gunman. So far, the only new clue of the shooter's ID is an updated composite sketch from the attack's lone survivor. And because police realize their suspect may have changed his appearance, they're becoming increasingly concerned about what he might do next.

"While he remains at large, he's a risk to others, especially to those who know who he is. We know many things about the crime and the evidence and the victims. And we know that this desperate killer will not hesitate to kill again should another life become inconvenient to him," said Commander Rick Bruno, Tinley Park Police Department.

Police are hoping their latest direct appeal to the public will prompt someone who knows the murderer to come forward. And even though pastors are promising the person responsible for the violence won't be harmed if he turns himself in, they also understand that may not be enough.

Tinley Park's mayor says it is simply time for anyone with information to do right thing, even if it means betraying the trust of the killer.

"That's the problem in our society. You can't be a snitch. Be a snitch. We are responsible to and for each other," said Edward Zabrocki, Tinley Park mayor.

The capture of this gunman is particularly important to Brenda Mitchell, not only because she's known the family of one of the victim's, Connie Woolfolk, for over 20 years, but she too lost her son to gun violence two years ago. Mitchell hopes the killer and those who are protecting him will stop the suffering of the victims' families and come forward.

"Connie's family along with the community has no closure," said Mitchell.

Police say they've received roughly 600 tips and leads. Although the help has moved their investigation forward, so far, there are no suspects in custody and no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the store shootings should call the tip hotline at (708) 444-5394.