Man shot to death in Park Forest had drug, weapon convictions
By CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org July 23, 2012 11:32AM
A person was shot and killed near the corner of Herndon and Indiana Streets in Park Forest Sunday July 22, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:08AM
A man who was shot to death Sunday in the streets of Park Forest was a felon who in the past two years had multiple convictions on drug and weapons charges, according to officials and court records.
As of late Monday afternoon, Park Forest police had no suspects in custody in connection with the shooting, in which at least one other man was injured.
Deputy Police Chief Mike McNamara said reports that the shooting was the result of a drug deal gone wrong were “premature.”
Darren Easterling, 25, whose address was listed as 6350 S. Sangamon St. in Chicago but who some residents said lived in Park Forest, died Sunday afternoon of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The shooting took place in the 300 block of Herndon Street, the medical examiner’s office said, and Easterling’s death was ruled a homicide.
The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is investigating, police said.
McNamara said Easterling was dead when police arrived at the scene about 4 p.m. Another man who was shot during the incident was being treated at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, he said.
A gun was recovered at the scene, McNamara said.
He dismissed the likelihood of a retaliatory or related shooting taking place in Park Forest, saying the chances would be like “lightning striking twice.”
According to court records, Easterling pleaded guilty to felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana in January 2010. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon in April 2011 and was sentenced to three years in prison. Easterling was released on parole in November 2011, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
On Monday, a blood stain remained on a curb where the shooting took place, and a house across the street had two bullet holes in the siding. A woman who lives there said the shots did not enter her home.
“It’s very scary,” she said, refusing to give her name. “We had a real-life shootout here.”
Jeffery Boyed, who lives down the street, said there have been robberies on the block before but no shootings.
“This is the suburbs,” said Boyed, 16. “People move to the suburbs to get away from that.”
Contributing: Sun-Times Media, Susan DeMar Lafferty