Mayor: Suburb safe despite murders

June 8, 2009 (HANOVER PARK, IL) There appear to be some new developments in at least one of the investigations going on in the suburb. Police say they have arrested and charged a 16-year-old boy as an adult in the stabbing death of a 23-year-old Hanover Park man. That teen remains jailed on bond.

In the meantime, the mayor wants residents to know the suburb is safe.

"All my customers are just flabbergasted. They don't know what to say. I mean it's scary," said Claudette Zito, Prairie Station Pub.

So far there have been four slayings in the northwest suburb in the last two weeks; three in the last four days, including 51-year-old Pamela Howat. Her body was found Saturday night in her home.

"It was a blow to all of us. Really sad," said Kevin Kowalski, Howat's friend.

While the DuPage County detectives say several people are being questioned in that crime, a 16-year-old has been charged in the death of Diontae Roberts Cherry.

On Thursday, a pregnant mother of two allegedly died at the hands of her live in boyfriend, who has been arrested arrived charged in the crime.

These incidents have left some Hanover Park residents on edge. But Hanover Park mayor Rod Craig says it's safe.

"We don't have a wild man running around with a machete kind of a thing. This is domestic violence, that's well documented. There's a history of that problem with individuals. It just happens to be hitting our community hard right now," Craig said.

The mayor was out most of the weekend talking to residents, trying to make them feel safe. In the meantime, investigators say they are also working on another ongoing investigation. On May 23, Jesus Sanchez was shot to death in front of his house.

Village officials say they're sponsoring an anti-violence forum that was in the works long before this rash of murders.

Hanover Park residents and community leaders were at a loss Sunday over the sudden increase in violence.

"Diontae [and] his younger brothers, you can't get any closer," said Harold Cherry.

"I get up, and I open the garage, I see all of this tape all over the place. I say ot the police, 'What, you got a crime scene over there?'" said neighborhood resident Maria Dinuzzo.

Diontae Roberts Cherry's brother, Michael Cherry, was also injured.

"He goes to the car, and the next thing you know, I'm being attacked again. I hear him say, 'I got stabbed,'" he said.

"I've been living in Hanover Park for 30 years. I figure no problems. I don't carry a lock or anything on my bike. I figure the crime rate wasn't that bad here," said Rich Wisniewski.

Police are also investigating the homicide of 51-year-old Pamela Howat. Her body was found Saturday night in her home.

DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett won't say how she died, but he does say several people have been questioned.

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