Calumet City woman killed in Oak Forest police shooting was in midst of mental health crisis: family

Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Woman killed in Oak Forest police shooting in midst of mental health crisis, family says
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The woman killed by Oak Forest police after behaving erratically and opening fire at them at a Food4Less was in the midst of a mental health crisis, her family said.

OAK FOREST, Ill. (WLS) -- A woman died and an officer was injured in a police-involved shooting in Oak Forest Sunday.

Before Sunday, 21-year-old Ketura Wilson of Calumet City was just another girl trying to find her place in the world.

"She was just a loving, sweet, silly girl, just silly," said her mother Erica Wilson. "She wanted her own little TikTok fame, but I was like, do one with your momma too."

READ MORE: Calumet City woman killed, officer injured in police-involved shooting in Oak Forest, officials say

What exactly led to the fatal encounter at Food4Less is complicated. Both her family and Illinois State Police say Wilson was suffering from a mental health crisis when she first arrived, armed with a handgun, at the strip mall off 159th Street near Central Avenue.

Oak Forest police confirmed they responded to a call of a possible motorist needed assistance just before 11 a.m. It was there that police and her family converged.

"She was asking people to call the police. The police told me someone called them for her 'cause she needed help and she felt she was being followed," her mother said. "Her father, her brother and I, we tried to get to her, to contain her, to make sure she felt safe...the police were very much, they were very much trying to help her and they were talking and taking time and taking time to talk to her."

WATCH: Erica Wilson describes what led up to daughter's death

But it wasn't working. Police were attempting to transport Wilson to a hospital for a mental health evaluation when she managed to escape, ending up in the parking lot of this Food4Less three-quarters of a mile away.

"My son was trying to contain her and he ran his car into her to stop her because she was taking off," Erica Wilson said.

At this point Wilson took off on foot in the direction of the Food4Less. There, Illinois State Police said, she pulled a gun on the officers who located her, firing in their direction and running into the store.

RELATED: Southwest Side shooting leaves 2 critical; gunman killed by police after firing at officers: CPD

"The yelling escalated even more. And then I just heard gunfire. I knew it was gunfire," said Jackie Human, who also witnessed the incident.

Wilson and an Oak Forest police officer were both injured in the shootout and were both transported to area hospitals. Wilson died; the officer remains hospitalized Monday in serious but stable condition. .

About an hour before she died, Wilson walked into a gun range and shop a block from the shooting, demanding to buy bullets. She was turned away.

"She came in, it was not right," said Ali Abdullah, store manager at Eagle Sports Range. "Agitated, demeanor was off."

Abdullah said after his employee noticed her odd behavior, she pulled out a handgun which is in violation of store policy. He said his employee turned her away and asked her to leave, and she complied.

"I'm really proud of our staff for stopping back, because God forbid it could have been a lot worse than what it was," he said.

Wilson's family confirmed she had a valid FOID card at the time of the incident.

Others who were involved in the shooting are now on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident by the Illinois Public Integrity Task Force, as well as the Oak Forest Police Department.

And while Wilson's family does not blame the officers, they do say more training is needed to deal with those suffering from mental health issues.

"Somebody needs to be called to talk down, to talk to the person. Because I don't think; they were trying the best they could, but I don't think they didn't-- I didn't know what to do. They didn't know what to do. But they were trying," Erica Wilson said.

If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, where someone is available to speak with you 24 hours a day.