Oak Brook mall shooting: Police searching for suspected shooter after 4 shot inside Oakbrook Center

4 injured in shootout between 2 people; police searching for possible 3rd suspect in Oak Brook Center shooting

ByLiz Nagy and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Saturday, December 25, 2021
Oakbrook shooting: Mall reopens after 4 hurt; 2 in custody
Police are still searching for a man in connection to a shooting at Oakbrook Center mall that injured 4 people Thursday night.

OAK BROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- The Oakbrook Center mall reopened Friday with a heavy police presence after a shooting at the shopping center Thursday night injured four people, police said.

Police said one suspected shooter is in custody, as well as a "companion." Charges are pending.

Another suspected shooter is still on the loose as of Friday morning, but police said they have some leads.

Police said the third suspect was wearing a blue puffy coat and is believed to be in his 30s.

Police are looking for this man, who they say may be involved in the shootout at Oakbrook Center Thursday evening.

Squad cars were seen circling the mall throughout Friday morning, but shoppers didn't seem to be worried, saying they felt safe enough to finish up their Christmas shopping in the western suburb.

"I just wanted to make sure the mall was open," Tinley Park resident Taura said. "I wasn't concerned, no, because I saw last night it was an isolated incident, so I knew that it wasn't like a mass shooting."

It's almost as if the shooting never happened. Almost.

"I went up to the perfume section and talked to the girl at the Coco Chanel section and she pointed at the door where the shooter came in right by her," said Steven Stratton, shopper.

"I wasn't concerned because I knew there would be a heavy police presence here today," said Marilyn Sliter, shopper. "I wasn't concerned at all. But then again, I wasn't concerned all through Christmas."

Oak Brook police said a security officer working the holiday detail at Nordstrom heard gunshots shortly after 6 p.m. and immediately called in the incident.

WATCH: Latest police update on Oakbrook Center shooting

An Oak Brook police sergeant gave an update after Thursday's mall shooting.

Police said two people were exchanging gunfire with each other in a corridor area in the east part of the mall adjacent to the Nordstrom.

Four people were injured by gunfire, police said. Police said one of the suspected shooters is a man in his 30s, who was shot four times and underwent several surgeries.

The other three shooting victims are two women in their 40s and one woman in her 20s, who were out shopping Thursday night. Each of them was struck once.

All gunshot victims have non-life-threatening injuries, police said. They were stable Friday morning but remained in the hospital.

Additionally, a woman in her 20s twisted her ankle fleeing the shooting and was taken to be treated for a fracture.

"Everybody was panicking," said Diane Sprague, witness. "We tried to keep everyone calm and safe: Stay away from the windows. We locked the doors, stayed away from the back door. We gave people some water to calm people down. There were children, elderly people. Made sure everybody was not injured."

WATCH: Witnesses describe shooting at Oakbrook Center

Running, pancking and hiding: Witnesses describe the chaos that broke out during the shooting at Oakbrook Center Thursday evening.

Another man was taken into custody after running into the Nordstrom and attempting to flee, police said. Police said they believe he was the companion to one of the people involved in the shootout.

Two weapons were recovered. Both are pistols, police said, including a 9mm.

READ MORE | Oak Brook mall retail theft: Grab-and-run thieves target Nordstrom twice in one day, police say

Witnesses said the mall was crowded with last-minute Christmas shoppers at the time of the incident.

Shoppers at the mall explained some of the chaos as holiday music was overtaken by gunshots.

"I start walking, and all I hear is 'bam, bam, bam.' And I kinda stop, and I look and I go, 'no, there's no way;' so then I keep walking and all of a sudden I see a stampede of people just running towards me," said Nicole Stevenson, who was sheltered for two and a half hours at the mall.

Stevenson was just a few stores away from the scene where police say two men were firing pistols at each other.

She ended up sheltering in place at a department store in the mall with 50 other people.

"For the first time I think in my life I was actually fearful for my life that something might happen," she said.

Family members rushed to the mall to meet their loved ones as soon as the lockdown was lifted.

"It is really sad and scary," Nordstrom employee Susie Nash said. "I've always felt so safe working here, so you know just thoughts and prayers; I know we have plenty of security."

Many are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened.

"It was things you see on the movie and when you walk out of the store, your hands are up, you see the SWAT team, all the police. It's crazy," Stevenson said.

The last time there was a shooting at Oakbrook Center was nine years ago, Oak Brook police said, when a security officer opened fire during a confrontation.