Security guard shot multiple times at River Oaks Mall in Calumet City dies; suspects at large

ByLeah Hope, Eric Horng, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Security guard shot inside south suburban mall dies
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A 57-year-old security guard died after he was shot inside the River Oaks Mall in Calumet City, IL. Police are searching for several suspects.

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (WLS) -- A security guard who was shot inside the River Oaks Mall in south suburban Calumet City Wednesday has died. Police are now searching for several suspects who remain at large.

The 57-year-old security guard's name has not yet been released, but police did confirm his age. Sources told ABC 7 the shooting was carried out by a team of armed thieves that got away with jewelry.

WATCH | Police update on River Oaks Mall shooting

Police responded to a report of shots fired at the mall around 12:15 p.m., Calumet City Police Chief Kevin Kolosh said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The midday gunfire brought a swarm of police and sent mall employees and shoppers scrambling for safety.

"All I heard was shots, and me and my co-workers and clients just ran for cover," said George Brown, who works in the mall next door to the jewelry store where gunfire erupted.

Shopper Tracy McGrew hid in a nearby storage closet.

"The first round when it went off, we all were confused, like what was that? I know that's not gunshots in the mall," McGrew said. "And then when it went off again, it just, it went crazy."

Officials said about 20 Calumet City police officers were at an active shooter training session on mall property and responded quickly.

SEE ALSO | 2 charged after shooting in Yorktown Center mall parking lot, police say

Kolosh said those officers found a male security guard with multiple gunshot wounds and immediately began performing life-saving measures until paramedics could arrive. A second male victim, who police said is 81, sustained a minor hand injury from broken glass and was treated on the scene.

"I saw the security guard on the floor, and they were trying, the police were trying to get him back, you know, get him back together," Brown said.

As that guard was rushed to a hospital, officers searched for multiple offenders. But after sweeping the mall for an hour, no one was arrested.

Though police have declined to comment on a motive, sources tell ABC 7 the store was targeted by thieves. Police said the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle and are currently not in custody.

Calumet City spokesperson Sean Howard said there have been ongoing concerns about crime and security at the mall.

"We've been in constant talks about taking over this mall for a variety of reasons, but particularly for safety and security," Howard said. "There's just some measures that we've asked them to perform, and some of those measures have been met and some have not."

ABC7 has reached out to the owners of River Oaks Center for a statement, but have not heard back. The mall is closed, and it's unclear when it will reopen. City officials said they will not allow the mall to reopen without meeting a list of their demands, including installing more cameras.

"We are going to be steadfast in our quest to take over this mall because these particular owners have not been very neighbor-friendly to our residents," Howard said.