Neighbors in Oak Forest have reported four deaths after a man opened fire on his family outside the house and then barricaded himself inside before setting the house on fire.
A press release from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office on Friday afternoon named the victims as 22-year-old Briana Rodriguez, 20-year-old Emilio Rodriguez, 43-year-old Lupe Gomez, and 44-year-old Carlos Gomez.
UPDATE: There is no longer a threat to the community. Central Avenue will remain closed as police and fire continue to investigate the incident. 155th Street is open. We will provide a full update later today.
— City of Oak Forest, Illinois (@cityofoakforest) September 23, 2022
In the 5500 block of Ann Marie Lane, Oak Forest, the man’s next-door neighbor’s Ring camera caught the incident on video early Friday morning.
As seen by ABC7, the video appears to show a man shooting at least three persons outside the house, with one of them escaping. The man is then seen returning to the house, where he has previously barricaded himself before setting it ablaze.
Jake Bittner, a neighbor, observed, “I see complete involvement from the higher floor.” Almost instantly, they “…realized something was awry.”
More than a dozen gunshots roused the neighborhood at around 6:30 a.m., according to residents. At 7 a.m., police in Oak Forest responded to an allegation of shooting during a domestic incident.
Two victims were located in the driveway and a third was found in the road south of the house when police arrived, all having suffered gunshot wounds.
In Oak Forest, officers bundled the victims into police cars with the suspect still nearby. Police added that after being brought to nearby hospitals, both victims ultimately succumbed to their wounds.
Despite police claims that a youngster was removed to safety before the fire broke out, the suspect was still inside the house at the time.
As of around 10 a.m., the threat to the neighborhood was no longer active, despite police requests for residents to remain indoors.
It was shocking to everyone, but neighbors said the family had resided in the house for nearly eight years and had a history of issues in the recent past.
Cody Wilson, a close friend and neighbor, described them as “a typical family just like us.” “There was a lot going on with the family, and things finally came to that.”
“The neighbors over there were all astonished, too,” Cheryl Wilson said. “They have no idea what’s going on.”
In recent weeks, the family’s behavior has been described as “weird,” and one neighbor has reported hearing a great deal of fighting and shouting coming from within the home. According to him, police had previously been called to the residence.
“We just kind of sat here and watched it unfold in astonishment,” neighbor Jake Bittner said. As one person put it, “That’s one hell of a way to get up in the morning.”
After extinguishing the blaze, emergency crews stayed on the scene till morning and conducted an investigation inside.
A fourth body, thought to be the culprit, was discovered at the scene. Also found at the scene was a firearm.
As a result of this, the neighbors are heartbroken and in disbelief.
Wilson has requested prayers for the family.
Due to “an ongoing problem in the community,” Oak Forest High School postponed its homecoming procession until next Friday.
After a day of being on a sort of “soft lockdown,” students and faculty learned that several of their former and current classmates had been implicated in the tragedy.
One of the surviving family members, according to pupils, is a current student who would have been cheering on the school team from the sidelines.
According to Mia Earll, a sophomore at Oak Forest High School, “everyone at this school felt for that family.” As one person said, “It depressed everyone!” They were all too distracted to pay attention. Because everyone was so upset over what had occurred to this family, none of the professors accomplished much in class.
According to word on the street, at least one member of the extended family is enrolled at Oak Forest High. Superintendent Brad Sikora of Bremen Public School District 228 revealed in a written statement that two of the dead were former students of the school.
“You never know what’s going on in somebody’s house or what they’re going through,” Earll remarked.
There will be counselors available to meet with students and employees at Oak Forest High School and all other schools in District 228 who feel the need for assistance.
Detective Sgt. Ryan Burnett of the Oak Forest Police Department can be reached at 7086871376 or by email at email@example.com if anyone has any leads.