Father of 2 killed in unincorp. Willowbrook Juneteenth celebration shooting that injured 22 others

Reginald Meadows' family taking legal action against property owner, attorney says

ByLiz Nagy and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Father of 2 killed in DuPage Co. shooting that injured 22 others
The man killed in an unincorporated Willowbrook, IL shooting near Honeysuckle Rose Lane and Route 83 Sunday has been identified as Reginald Meadows.

DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- The man killed in a shooting that left 22 others injured early Sunday morning near southwest suburban Willowbrook has been identified.

Reginald Meadows, 31, of Willowbrook died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the DuPage County Coroner's Office said Monday morning.

Robert Fakhouri, an attorney for the victim's family, said they're now taking legal action against the property owner for wrongful death, alleging they did not take any precautions to ensure the crowd's safety.

"He's a resident of that neighborhood. He was there gathering with his friends and his family. He wasn't the only one injured, actually, in his friend and family group," Fakhouri said. "The third year that they're doing this gathering, knowing that a prior occasion for this specific event that there was an instance of violence, making sure that you don't have the right safety measures in place is just completely unreasonable. It will lead to issues like this arising. And, if you're inviting people on your private property, you need to ensure that it is safe to do so."

Meadows, a father of two, was among 23 shot in a strip mall parking lot that remained blocked off to customers Monday. His friends have been illuminating his name with candles, symbolizing "long live Reggie," on Monday evening.

"One thing they failed to ensure despite the number of people that were gathering was making sure there was proper security measures, safety measures in place, so something doesn't occur that did occur," Fakhouri said.

Investigators described the incident as a "peaceful Juneteenth gathering Saturday, turned violent."

Cellphone video shows the moments after gunfire unleashed on the parking lot, near Route 83 and Honeysuckle Rose Lane in unincorporated Willowbrook. People can be seen running and ducking for cover.

RELATED: Chicago shooting: Teen girl among 5 shot near Lincoln Park Zoo, police say

"Last year, me and my kids were here, and it was nice. They were residents, a bunch of families out, they had a DJ, and it was a good time celebrating Juneteenth in the neighborhood. But for some reason this year, just really got out of hand," neighbor Jenilynn Humble said. "I came out earlier in the night, and it felt a little rowdy, it felt off. So I ended up going in the house about 15 minutes later. I heard a lot of gunshots going off, scary."

DuPage County sheriff's deputies said they were monitoring the Juneteenth gathering Saturday that began about 6 p.m.

They were called away briefly for a 911 call, when deputies heard the gunshots and immediately returned. People were trampled while dodging bullets.

"It was like 80 gunshots, just kind of almost continuously," said Natalie, a witness. "They were a couple of people who got hit by other cars when they were trying to, actually, leave out to try to get away. Basically, everybody was just trying to take cover."

Victims were taken to multiple hospitals in DuPage, Cook and Will counties. Their ages were still unknown Monday.

Meanwhile, ABC7 and the Fakhouri's family's attorney have not been able to track down the owner of the property.

DuPage County officials did not immediately share any information about who might be responsible for the shooting. They are still in the process of interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video.

In a news release Monday, the sheriff's office said detectives are working to find additional witnesses and victims who may not have sought medical attention for their injuries.

President Joe Biden "has been tracking" the incident, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday.

She said the White House had "reached out to state and local officials to offer any federal assistance needed."

"It's devastating," she said. "It's tragic. This type of gun violence needs to stop, and the president is going to continue to use his bully pulpit to speak to that. He's going to continue to do everything that he can."