Suspects in Illinois home invasion sought in Gary
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org May 11, 2013 5:18PM
Anthony M. Espinoza / photo from Orland Park police
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:29PM
A 30-year-old Portage native is recovering from three gunshot wounds suffered in a brutal home invasion early Friday in Orland Park, Ill.
The man’s uncle, Kenny Giertz of Hobart, said his nephew could be released from Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Ill., as early as Saturday night or Sunday.
Meanwhile, police are tracking leads on the attackers in Gary where their car was recovered.
Police in Orland Park have called the home invasion a targeted attack. Giertz said there could be a connection to a tenant at a home his nephew owns in Portage. “My opinion is it’s people who know him. They knew he was doing well.”
Giertz declined to identify his nephew because two of the suspects had not been captured. A third man tied by police to the attack killed himself Friday night in East Chicago.
The incident unfolded at 2:50 a.m. Friday as the man and his fiancee, also from Portage, and their two children, ages 5 and 6, were sleeping. The suspects, described as dark-complected, forced their way into a side door of the rental home in the 10900 block of Antelope Lane in an upscale area of Orland Park.
“The tenant may have led them to him,” Giertz said. The nephew owns a custom car-lighting business, Giertz said. “He was all over the country with it,” Giertz said.
Giertz said his nephew moved to Orland Park to get a fresh start and “make a better home for his family.”
As the suspects entered the home, Giertz said his nephew began wrestling with them. They demanded money and jewelry. His fiancee gave them her engagement ring, Giertz said. As they struggled, Giertz said his nephew was pistol-whipped and shot in the back twice and in his left bicep. One bullet is still lodged in his chest. Doctors could remove it in about a month, Gietz said.
Concerned about his family, Giertz said his nephew tried to get the men out the front door. The men fled in a PT Cruiser and the victim jumped in his van and began following them.
“They emptied their clips out shooting at the van,” Giertz said. “They disabled it, but he kept coming after them. I think he’s a hero.” The suspects fled on Harlem Avenue and onto Interstate 80.
Giertz said his nephew’s young daughters heard the commotion and hid under blankets in their bedroom. “His kids are pretty shook up. They woke up with nightmares.” No one else in the home was injured.
Anthony “A-Train” Espinoza, 27, of Winfield, shot himself in the head Friday night as police surrounded an East Chicago home in the 400 block of Liberty Street. Giertz said his nephew said Espinoza had come to his house before with his tenant from Portage.
Police found guns and body armor inside the home where Espinoza died. The Lake County coroner’s office labeled his death a suicide.
Orland Park police issued a warrant for Espinoza’s arrest and Lake County Sheriff’s police followed a lead to the East Chicago address, according to Lake County police spokeswoman Patti Van Til. She said Detective Michael Hinch, of the Lake County Gangs Crime Unit, determined that Espinoza frequented the Liberty Street residence in the Marktown section.
As Hinch and officers approached the residence, Van Til said, they heard a gunshot.
Van Til said someone burst out of the front door shouting to officers to call an ambulance because of the shooting. Police found Espinoza on the floor with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.