Person of interest in custody after security guard killed in River Oaks Mall shooting, police say

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Person of interest in custody after security guard killed in River Oaks Mall shooting, police say
A person of interest is now in custody after a security guard was killed at the River Oaks Mall in Calumet City, police said Saturday.

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (WLS) -- A person of interest is now in custody in relation to the River Oaks Mall shooting that left a security guard dead, Calumet City police said Saturday.

Police did not release any other details at this time.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

There are mounting questions from businesses inside River Oaks Mall in Calumet City just days after a mall security guard was shot and killed there.

RELATED: Questions mount after security guard killed in River Oaks Mall shooting

There's been quite a bit of mixed messaging at River Oaks Mall. Calumet City officials said the plan was to reopen Friday with heightened security, and they have - but most stores still remain closed as the investigation continues.

"All the stores managers and the workers, they're confused," said Osama Rehman, a JBees employee.

Employees said they received a letter from police Friday morning saying the mall is temporarily closed, but the company that owns and runs the mall said otherwise.

"The mall is open from security and management, but the police, they want it stopped," Rehman said. "They don't want us to open the store."

Despite the confusion, customers were still walking around like normal as most stores in the mall remained closed.

Some customers were still shaken up after hearing 57-year-old Norman Thomas was shot and killed while guarding a jewelry store in the mall.

"My heart really goes out to that guy," shopper Leon Ellis said. "Like I said, he was a very, very nice guy."

Crimes like that are one reason why Calumet City has been pushing to make a change.

The city did not return ABC7's request for comment Friday, but has highlighted crime concerns around this mall in the past. City spokesperson Sean Howard even mentioned the issue on Wednesday.

"If you just google over the last 12 months, we've been in constant talks about taking over this mall for a variety of reasons, but particularly for safety and security," Howard said.

READ MORE | Security guard killed in mall shooting was veteran, grandfather

Jewelry thieves are at large after security guard Norman Thomas, 57, was killed in a River Oaks Mall shooting in Calumet City.

This week's shooting is the latest in a number of incidents over the past few years. There was a shooting right outside the mall in 2019 which killed two people. Another shooting happened in May 2021 inside the mall, but no one was hurt. Employees said the lack of security is concerning.

"It's a really big mall and you'll see maybe one security guard, two security guards," Rehman said. "They don't have any weapons, nothing. The robberies happen like every other day."

Some customers also think the city should add more protection, rather than shutting down the mall permanently.

"Beef up the security," Ellis said. "Put police officers over here. That's what they get paid for."

A store owner also said off camera that he still sees plenty of businesses here and would have an issue with any permanent closing. ABC7 is still waiting to hear back from the mayor's office about any future plans with the mall.

Police previously said they were searching for several suspects, however, so far, no arrests have been made.