Man who allegedly murdered mom probed by feds, considered killing self

August 30, 2013 (BURR RIDGE, Ill.)

The DuPage County State's Attorney and Burr Ridge Chief of Police John Madden announced Thursday afternoon that first degree murder charges have been filed against Michael Zaky Bassaly, 27, of Downers Grove for the murder of his mother Yvonne Zaky Bassaly, 61. It is the first homicide in the history of Burr Ridge.

Bassaly, of Downers Grove, was ordered held without bond Friday morning after a hearing at a DuPage County court hearing. Prosecutors played a tape of his 911 call moments after he allegedly shot his mother.

On the tape, Zaky Bassaly was sobbing and said "please, please, please, oh God, she made me do it, she wanted me to do it."

Prosecutors said Michael Zaky Bassaly told police he had told his mother he was going to kill himself, and claimed she responded if he did there would be nobody around to take care of her, and asked that he kill her too.

She then said they should go pray, and they drove to the church, prosecutors said. But prosecutors said he also said she was going to be killed one way or the other.

Michael Zaky Bassaly was under investigation by Homeland Security regarding letters of asylum he was helping people write, claiming the letters were fake, prosecutors said.

"Talk to the FBI, they know everything," he told police when they arrived on the scene of the shooting, shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, prosecutors said.

Police say the suspect called 911 after the fatal shooting, and police found him with his mother's body.

"The person that called 911 to report the injury is the person in custody right now," Burr Ridge Deputy Chief Marc Loftus said. "At this time we believe that this is an isolated incident, that the residents are safe, and there is a suspect in custody at the Burr Ridge Police Department."

The suspect's Cadillac was found in the parking lot of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church on 79th Street in the leafy southwest suburb, sources said. His mother's body, which had a single gunshot wound to the head, was found inside or near the suspect's car.

The victim was taken by ambulance to Hinsdale Adventist Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police searched a Downers Grove apartment where the suspect and victim are believed to have lived. Their neighbors didn't know them.

"It's kind of calm, kind of quiet, everyone keeps to themselves," Chuck Bessler, neighbor, said.

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church is located just northwest of the I-55 interchange with County Line Rd. in suburban DuPage County. Pastor Samuel Thabet Samuel said neither the suspect nor victim is a church member. However, the suspect had attended church before, but was not of the Coptic denomination.

"What I want to emphasize on is that this is individuals and separate incident the church has nothing to with it. Our parishioners have nothing to do with it," Father Samuel Thabet Samuel said. "The one who did the crime thought about a quiet place, isolated area, and he knew about it- I heard he came a couple times here. So, I think this is incentive to choose a place."

"There were no services occurring at that time, the church was closed. We do leave the gate open because, as a Christian church [it's] open to everyone. It's unfortunate someone would take advantage of that to commit a crime," Rebecca Michaels, church attorney, said.

St. Mark, one of the largest in the Chicago area for Coptic Christians, will remain closed for the day. It has a pre-school, but classes aren't in session until after Labor Day.

"Any murder is a tragedy, and it will affect our community, the local community as a whole. Burr Ridge is a quiet town," Michaels said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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