Vigil planned after Oak Forest man kills family, sets house on fire in murder-suicide

Deceased identified as Briana Rodriguez, 22; Emilio Rodriguez, 20; Lupe Gomez, 43; Carlos Gomez, 44

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Sunday, September 25, 2022
Vigil planned after Oak Forest man kills family, sets house on fire in murder-suicide
A memorial continues to grow outside an Oak Forest, Illinois home as loved ones gather with heavy hearts after 4 killed in a murder-suicide.

OAK FOREST, Ill. (WLS) -- What was once the home to a family of six is now gated off with a growing memorial outside as many remember the lives of a mother and her two oldest children who were shot and killed Friday.

A heart-wrenching loss as tributes adorn the Oak Forest home where Pedro Villanueva said his two cousins lived with their mother and stepfather, and sadly, where their lives were taken.

"After what happened, I have it in my mind, like, who would've done that to some innocent people," Villanueva said.

It's a hard reality to face as Lesly Palafox visits what used to be the home of her close friend but is now the scene where she was tragically killed.

RELATED: 4 people killed in Oak Forest shooting, barricade situation, fire caught on neighbor's Ring camera

"If you had Briana by your side as a friend, I think you would know what kind of friend you had. She was an amazing person and I don't think we could ask for anything else," said Palafox, who was a close friend of Briana Rodriguez.

Briana Rodriguez, the oldest of four siblings, was shot and killed Friday morning outside of her south suburban home in the 5500-block of Ann Marie Lane.

WATCH | Police respond to barricade situation, fire at Oak Forest home

Flames were visible through the roof, and there was heavy smoke.

Her younger brother, Emilio Rodriguez, and their mother, Lupe Gomez, were also gunned down.

Her stepfather, Carlos Gomez, was later found inside their burning home with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

"I just felt like I needed to come to show them to pay respects," said community member, Tracy Larson.

A neighbor said he witnessed a man shooting his family members outside his home before barricading himself inside and setting the home on fire.

"I couldn't believe it," Palafox said. "She's resting. Hopefully, they are doing better up there in Heaven, and watching over her two little sisters. I mean, they were her light."

Two lights who, sadly, saw their worlds dimmed that morning.

Lupe's two youngest kids, who are 13 and 15-year-olds, were able to escape the deadly confrontation.

However, they are now left in a world without their parents and siblings, and a home now marked with those violent memories.

WATCH | Deadly Oak Forest shootings, fire caught on doorbell camera

One neighbor's Ring camera captured what appeared to be a man shooting his family members before barricading himself inside his home.

"Maybe if the kids wouldn't lived out here with the mom, or maybe if they were with my uncle - maybe it would have been a different story. They would've been, probably, alive and this wouldn't have happened," Villanueva said.

Family said those two girls are now in the care of their uncle.

An online fundraiser is helping to raise money for the victims' funerals as a vigil is being planned for Monday night. It will be held at the Oak Forest City Hall gazebo at 7 p.m.