Joliet shooting victims ID'd; new details after suspect in 8 Will County murders dies in Texas

Alleged shooter Romeo Nance was related to most of victims | Only non-fatal shooting caught on video

Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Motive for Joliet murder spree may never be known with suspect dead
When Romeo Nance took his own life in Texas, he took with him the motive for his eight-person murder spree 1,200 miles away in the southwest suburbs.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Our coverage of this story has moved here.

Many unanswered questions remain after a man suspected of shooting nine people, eight fatally, in the Joliet area, took his own life during a confrontation with Texas police Monday night, authorities said.

Police said Romeo Nance, 23, was related to most of the people he targeted at two homes. They have been identified as 38-year-old Christine Esters, 47-year-old Tameka Nance, 35-year-old William Esters II, 31-year-old Joshua Nance, 20-year-old Alexandria Nance, a 16-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl.

It's not clear why Nance allegedly went on the killing spree or why he traveled to Texas.

"We can't get inside his head. We just don't have any idea any clue as to why he did what he did," said Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans.

About 8:30 p.m. Monday, U.S. Marshals located Nance southwest of San Antonio, in Natalia, Texas.

Police believe Nance stopped at a Texas mall and was able to get his hands on Texas license plates, which he put on his vehicle to try to throw authorities off of this trail.

Joliet police, officials, and the Will County Sheriff's Office gave an update Tuesday on the case of eight people killed before the main suspect, Romeo Nance, died in Texas.

The Medina County, Texas Sheriff's Office said Nance later had a confrontation with police at a gas station and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"At some point in there he took his own life," Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said. "I can tell you that the suspect was neutralized, and there is no threat to the community."

This is the worst crime scene I've ever been associated with
Joliet police chief

Police said it's unclear why Nance ended up in Texas. He had no known connection to that state.

Nance was the prime suspect in a shooting spree that killed eight people and wounded another at four separate crime scenes in the Joliet area.

Nance died nearly 1,200 miles from where the murders took place, according to officials.

SEE ALSO: Chicago robberies: Thieves use Uber app to rob at least 6 drivers at gunpoint, police say

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Joliet police said two of the shootings, one on Davis Street and one on Pheasant Run Lane, "appear to be more random in nature" than the other two shootings, in which Nance targeted multiple relatives.

About 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Will County officials said a man was injured in a shooting in Joliet in the 200-block of Davis Street.

In that incident, a 42-year-old man was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Surveillance video captured the moment shots were fired.

A man was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries in the 200-block of Davis Street in Joliet.

In the video, a man can be seen getting supplies from a car, when a red Toyota Camry pulls up. A few words are exchanged before the driver pulls away. But moments later, as the 42-year-old victim walks home, the driver of the Camry pulls around and opens fire. Gunshots can be heard, and the suspect speeds away.

Curtis Ellis is the 42-year-old victim's neighbor.

"My wife could've been out there taking groceries out of the car, just like this guy was taking water out of his car, and it doesn't seem like he even knew the guy," Ellis said.

About 10 minutes after the Davis Street shooting, Will County Deputy Sheriff Dan Jungles said his deputies were called to a home at 5 Pheasant Run Lane, where they found a person with a gunshot wound to the head.

That victim, identified as 28-year-old Toyosi Bakare, was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

RELATED: 2 charged in Gold Coast crime spree, including carjacking attempt foiled by manual transmission

Jungles said he was originally from Nigeria and had been in Will County for the past three years. Police said they do not believe Bakare is related to any of the victims discovered at homes on Monday, but is somehow connected to Nance.

Police were able to identify the suspect and vehicle from the Davis Street shooting, but were not able to locate him. As a result, Jungles said his deputies set up surveillance near Nance's home in the 2200-block of West Acres Road at about midnight, but saw no sign of Nance.

After about 12 hours of surveillance, the deputies approached the home listed as Nance's last known address, saw blood outside and made entry. Inside, he said, they found two people, a 47-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, who had been fatally shot and contacted the Joliet Police Department.

Police said the second house, in which five people were found dead, was inhabited by some of Nance's relatives, so they checked that house as well and made their gruesome discovery: a 31-year-old man, two women, 38 and 20 years old, and two teen girls, 14 and 16 years old, who had all been shot to death.

Police believe the shootings at those two homes happened on Sunday, and Nance was related to at least, if not all, of the victims he shot at those locations.

WATCH: Full police update on Joliet murders

The Joliet Police Department and Will County Sheriff's Office gave an update on the seven people found dead in 2 homes in Joliet, which is also connected to a fatal shooting Sunday

"I've been a policeman for 29 years, and this is the worst crime scene I've ever been associated with," Joliet Chief Bill Evans said.

Nance is believed to have a criminal history; though, police did not offer any further details. Police said on Tuesday that in cases like this, they may never know the motive behind the crimes.

Joliet police asked anyone with information about the crimes to contact them.

The Texas Rangers are also investigating what happened near San Antonio.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden released a statement on the killings, saying:

"Jill and I are praying for the family members of the eight victims killed in Joliet, Illinois, and for the broader community devastated by these tragic shootings.

"Federal law enforcement agencies assisted local law enforcement with the investigation.

"This tragedy underscores why I am doing everything in my power to keep guns off our streets and out of the hands of those who seek to harm themselves or others. It's why my administration is strengthening the gun background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. It's why I've taken dozens of executive actions to strengthen gun safety and end the gun violence epidemic. And it's why I continue to call on Congress to pass universal background checks and a national red flag law, in addition to other commonsense gun safety measures.

"It is within our power to stop the epidemic of gun violence tearing our communities apart. Congress must act now."