Police: Possible gang ties to drive-by shooting in Tinley Park
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org September 12, 2012 11:35AM
Seven people were arrested late Tuesday night after a drive-by shooting near the Always Open convenience store at 183rd & Oak Park Ave. in Tinley Park. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:23AM
Mike Kelley was startled late Tuesday when he heard six loud popping sounds outside his home near the corner of 183rd Street and Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park.
He told girlfriend Karen Loughran the noises were fireworks. But he knew better.
“I heard six shots. I know gunshots. I was in the Army. So I came outside, like a dummy, looking around. I walked around the whole house, but I didn’t see anything,” Kelley said.
Moments later “we saw all these cop cars just flying down the road. They went down Oak Park Avenue and were back here maybe 20 minutes later,” Kelley, 55, said.
He soon saw police officers near 183rd Street and Oak Park Avenue, using flashlights to look for shell casings on the road and in the grass. At least five were found, he said.
On Wednesday, Tinley Park police said the drive-by shooting that resulted in seven arrests but no injuries is “possibly” gang-related.
The shooting took place near Tinley Family Food & Liquor on the northwest corner of 183rd and Oak Park, police said, and while several shots were fired, no one was wounded.
Police Cmdr. Pat McCain said the seven suspects remained in custody Wednesday and were being questioned. Charges probably would be filed against them by early Thursday, McCain said.
Police Sgt. Jon Popp said Tuesday night that police responded about 10 p.m. to a call about a shooting placed from a warehouse in the 18800 block of Oak Park Avenue and saw two vehicles drive out of the parking lot.
Officers quickly stopped the vehicles on 191st Street, just west of Oak Park Avenue, and learned of a shooting minutes earlier near the store, Popp said.
Popp said other officers went to the area of the store and found several shell casings, resulting in police arresting seven occupants of the two vehicles. A .25-caliber handgun was recovered from one of the vehicles, police said. Popp said it was unclear whom the shooters were targeting.
McCain said the store was not damaged by gunfire.
Saab Omar, a clerk who works the day shift at the convenience store, said the shooting was a hot topic.
“People coming in have been asking about it all day. I’m just glad nobody got hurt. I don’t want anything to happen when anybody is around,” Omar said.
Loughran, 51, was also glad there were no injuries.
“I wonder if they were in different gangs. That’s terrible to have out here. I was so scared last night,” she said, adding that she and Kelley have lived in the house for two years.
A steady police presence — squad cars often park west of their house, on the entrance road to Central Middle School, waiting for speeders on 183rd Street — makes them feel safe, Loughran said.
“I’m glad they ... caught them. I’m so glad. Nothing like this ever happens here. It’s a very nice neighborhood. A very quiet neighborhood. We were shocked,” she said.
Contributing: Thomas Finn
and Hannah Kohut