Mother of robbery suspect shot by police in Old Irving Park sends prayers to victims

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Mother of robbery suspect shot by police sends prayers to victims
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The mother of the robbery suspect shot by police said that her prayers go out to the wounded officer and the innocent teenager who was shot.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The mother of the robbery suspect shot by police said Thursday morning that her prayers go out to the wounded officer and the innocent teenager who was shot. She said her son had the potential to do well in life and then met the wrong people.

Christopher Willis mugshot, date unknown
Courtesy of the Chicago Police Department

Christopher Terrell Willis' mother declined to go on camera, but said her heartfelt thoughts are with those injured in Tuesday night's gun battle.

Willis died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County Medical examiner's office. The 32-year-old was identified as the suspect who police say robbed a bank in Des Plaines, carjacked a woman and then led authorities on a chase into Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood.

WATCH: Witnesses recall chaotic scene in Old Irving Park

Police say Willis jumped out of the white car and fired shots, hitting a 46-year-old Chicago police officer in the head. The officer remains in serious condition but is improving and expected to make a full recovery.

The 15-year-old teenager remains in the hospital where he is also expected to recover. The Lane Tech high school student was an innocent bystander inside a music store. A Des Plaines officer chased Willis there and fatally shot him, with one of the bullets striking the teen.

WATCH: Lane Tech student injured in 'gun battle'

Police say Willis has a history of criminal convictions, including carjacking. His mother said he went into the system at 13 years old and came out at 21.

She said her son at one point started to turn his life around, and all she would say is that she is praying for the wounded and their families.


In the middle of the chaos, a nearby business opened its doors to bring comfort to panicked bystanders. Shortly after the 15-year-old boy was hit by gunfire at the music shop, those inside ran toward Berman's Subaru of Chicago to take cover.

Employees say the victim fell on the ground and emergency crews came to his rescue. They say the music students were crying and upset.

"One of their fellow students had gotten shot," said Theresa Losuriello, a car dealership employee. "So I believed that they were just in shock and in fear."

"The general manager came waving his hands, "Everybody on the floor, shots fired, get down, get down!'" recalled Dan D'Andrea. "I had customers diving to the floor. I had employees going to the ground."

Employees at the dealership unlocked the doors for those students, parents and teachers running over from Upbeat Music and Arts.

"We walked them into our service area and tried to make them feel comfortable, providing them with water and snacks, TV, phones, whatever they needed to communicate with the other parents," Losuriello said.

The music shop is thanking the community for their support, saying the victim remains in the hospital but is improving. Workers at the car dealership are still trying to wrap their minds around what took place here Tuesday night.

"It is very overwhelming. The adrenaline set in that day," Losuriello said.