Neighbors help catch 3 in deadly home invasion

October 19, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Two men and a woman are being questioned. They were taken into custody shortly after the fatal home invasion near Lawndale and Roscoe on the Northwest Side. No charges have been filed yet, but they are expected Wednesday morning.

As children and parents arrived at Saint Wenceslaus School Tuesday morning, a home invasion was taking place in a three-flat across the street.

"It's awful. You need to beef up patrols," said Barb Beronski.

"I'm very surprised. We usually don't hear about too many violent things happening in the neighborhood," said Omar Delacruz.

Police say in one of the apartments, the suspects tied up a mother and her 16-year-old son and shot both. They were rushed to the hospital, where Andre Vasquez died.

"I got a call saying Crystal and Andre been shot, and we went to the hospital and it's true, Andre and Crystal both been shot. I guess they was taken to the basement apartment, shot by two guys that came in with masks. They both shot in the head," said Antonio, a relative of the victim who did not want to give his last name. "It is still a shock for me."

The suspects didn't get far thanks to an alert city worker and the victims' neighbor, an off-duty police officer. They spotted the men still wearing ski masks and latex gloves. They got into a car where a young woman was serving as a lookout.

"He was checking the alleys for cleanliness and saw some folks and went after them and called 311 and didn't realize at the time," said Ald. Ray Colon, 35th Ward. "He thought they were burglars. He didn't realize they did the home invasion."

As it turns out, one of the neighbors allegedly saw them ditch the gun in one of the bushes nearby.

Vasquez's 14-year-old sister was in the apartment as well. She was able to run away and wasn't hurt. Their mother remained in critical condition Wednesday morning.

Vasquez was getting ready for class when the home invasion took place.

"It's shocking," said student Timothy Perez. "It is really depressing."

Parents and students at Schurz are especially shocked by the violence and saddened by the loss.

"When we have problems, we just talk to the teachers and counselors," said student Kevin Sanchez. "They will help you out with anything. They are very caring and supportive."

"I feel so sorry for the family," said parent Chandra Jenkins. "The mom, the kids."

Doctors at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center are caring for Vasquez's mother, who was shot in the head.

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