Man shot and killed near Evanston HS

December 8, 2010 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

Keith Tucker, 40, died at Evanston Hospital after the shooting around 3 a.m. on Church Street near Evanston Township High School.

Family members say they do not know why Tucker was near the school. Police are investigating but do not have a motive or a suspect.

Investigators from both the Evanston Police Department and the North Shore Forensic Specialists (NORTAF) -- a group that help several jurisdictions when a homicide is involved -- combed the 2000-block of Church Street Wednesday on the north side of the school.

Police were called to the area just past 1 a.m. They found Tucker lying in a pool of blood with a single gunshot to the head. Police say he was in the company of two other men who they hope to question.

"Evanston fire and paramedics responded, treated and transported the individual to a local hospital. He later succumbed to his injuries," said Commander Tom Guenther, Evanston police.

Guenther says that while homicides are up, overall crime in Evanston is down. That's of little comfort to Keira Mahlerl, a 23-year-old mother of two who recently moved back to the neighborhood from Rogers Park in Chicago due to violence.

"It is just crazy how people just keep on shooting like that. It is right next to a high school. I know how it is because my kids' father, he got gunned down on Howard Street," said Mahlerl.

Commander Guenther says Evanston is a leader in temporal analysis, the strategic tracking of crime and its sources. He says it takes community-based policing where authorities rely on building relationships with area residents and informants to a higher level. He's confident the case will be solved.

"We establish relationships with good people and other folks to get that information to help in our investigations. It is a matter of trust," said Guenther.

For the young mother, who hurried to get her youngest child to school Wednesday afternoon, solving the crime is critical to her sense of safety -- a feeling she thought she'd have by coming home.

"Open your eyes. Look around. Go to the police. If you're scared, still go to the police. They can help you out in some way," said Mahlerl.

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