Cicero shooting: Uber driver shot, killed in attempted robbery ID'd as NW Indiana father of 3

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Rob Elgas, and Alexis McAdams WLS logo
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Uber driver shot in Cicero ID'd as father of 3
The Uber driver who was shot during an attempted robbery in Cicero was identified by police as a 38-year-old father of three from northwest Indiana.

CICERO, Ill. (WLS) -- An Uber driver has died after he was shot in the head in an attempted robbery Monday night in Cicero, police said.

The driver was identified by police as Joseph Schelstraete, a 38-year-old father of three from northwest Indiana who was driving for Uber to make some extra money.

"He is truly a victim. Wrong place and wrong time. By all accounts, from what we can tell, he is just a hardworking guy," Cicero Police Chief Jerry Chlada said.

Police said at about 7:34 p.m., an Uber driver was called out to 23rd Street and 55th Avenue. Police said four people were there and attempted to rob the rideshare driver. Police believe they were also planning to steal his vehicle.

Surveillance video captured the suspects waiting for him in the moments before the attack. The Uber driver was shot in the head by one of the suspects, police said. He was transported to Loyola University Medical Center in serious condition, where doctors worked to save his life, but couldn't.

"They are keeping him alive to harvest his organs," Chlada said.

Schelstraete died the next day. Navigating through their grief, his family is using his generosity as a beacon of hope for others.

"He would just be so proud of what he's gifting to somebody," said Kim Bova, his aunt. "Just think of those patients receiving the news that they got a heart. That they got a liver or whatever they are receiving from Joe. What a joyous, joyous day for them."

Relatives said Schelstraete was popular on social media, often showing his jovial side as he amassed more than 13,000 followers on TikTok.

As his family copes with the loss as best they can, they remembered a man who always put his family first.

"Working two jobs. He worked at the steel mill and then did Uber to provide for his three children," Bova said. "Joey was dedicated and he loved it. It wasn't an obligation or a chore. He loved being with his children."

A juvenile suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for three others who should be considered armed and dangerous.

A few neighbors saw the incident unfold. One of them was just coming home from work

"A small blue car stopped in front of the house," said a witness who did not want to be identified. "It looks like someone requested an Uber. Then one person came out and a second person came out and a third and they started struggling with the driver and at that point a fourth person came out and then at that point that's when they shot him in the back of the head."

The witness ABC7 spoke with said seeing the crime was horrific.

"I was in shock. Truthfully you don't see this every day, but the same thing happened a month ago," he said.

Police confirmed a similar incident did happen near the crime scene about a month ago when an Uber driver was robbed and assaulted. Ramon Reyes has lived in the area for two years saying it is a quiet area residential area with no violent crime issues.

"I've been in this neighborhood for almost two years and I've never seen anything happen like this," Reyes said. "Especially not down the street from where I live, you know."

An Uber spokeswoman said in a written statement: "We are saddened to hear about the senseless act of violence that took the life of Mr. Schelstraete. Our thoughts are with his family and we are working with law enforcement on their investigation."