Kadner: Real mystery of the Robbins murders
By Phil Kadner email@example.com February 3, 2014 10:44PM
A shooting in the 13600 block of Pulaski in Robbins is being investigated by Robbins Police and the Cook County Sheriff's Department. | NVP
Updated: March 5, 2014 6:16AM
It was about 10:30 p.m. when the 14-year-old boy heard a “pop” from the lower level of his Robbins home.
He was in an upstairs bedroom, ran downstairs and “saw smoke coming from the head of a 17-year-old (boy) and blood coming out,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.
It’s such a small house, Dart would say more than once during the course of a conversation Monday morning.
“Such a really tiny house and such a horrible, horrible scene inside,” he said. “Blood everywhere.”
In all, four people in the house would die. Michael Worsham, 43, was standing over the body of his 17-year-old son, holding a gun when the 14-year-old (who told police he was a stepson) arrived on the scene.
Worsham then went upstairs to a bedroom, where his wife of 12 years, Michelle Ollie, 42, was in bed with her 5-year-old grandson.
“He pulled them out of bed and shot his wife,” Dart said.
The 14-year-old began fighting with the father in an apparent attempt to save the life of the 5-year-old.
“He grabbed the gun and wouldn’t let go,” Dart said, “and at some point the husband promised he wouldn’t shoot and would let the 14-year-old leave with the 5-year-old unharmed if he would just stop fighting him.”
The boy released the gun, grabbed the 5-year-old and ran through the front door of the home. A 15-year-old daughter of Worsham attempted to follow them out.
“That’s when he shot her in the back, and she fell on the front stoop,” Dart said. “Of course, all of this is coming from the 14-year-old, but all of the evidence inside the house seems to verify his version of events.”
You wonder what it must have been like for that young boy to see so many people die and to engage in a life-or-death struggle with an armed man with homicide in his heart.
“He’s a strong kid,” one law enforcement official told me. “I mean mentally and emotionally strong.”
As the teen fled the house with the 5-year-old in tow, witnesses had gathered in the street outside the home. Worsham fired some shots at them.
“He then either shot the 15-year-old in the head while she was still lying on the stoop or dragged her body back inside and shot her in the head. In either case, he dragged her back inside the house,” Dart said.
The 14-year-old took the 5-year-old to a neighbor’s house, where police eventually would find them.
Robbins and Cook County sheriff’s police arrived, went inside the home and found Worsham slumped over on a bed dead. There were no indications he was shot, stabbed or otherwise physically harmed.
Police are awaiting a medical examiner’s report on the cause of death “because at this point we don’t know what his motive might have been, and we don’t know the cause of his death,” a sheriff’s spokesman said.
The principal at Shepard High School in Palos Heights, where all the teenagers in the house went to school, said there were no reports of family troubles.
“By all accounts, these were good kids, well liked by their classmates,” Principal Josh Barron said. “We had their older siblings here in school as well before they graduated.
“We knew Michael and Michelle as responsive parents. By that I mean if we had anything we needed to discuss with them about the children, they were here. They were involved in their kids’ lives. This is not something you would expect to happen to this family.”
There were no reports of domestic violence at the home before the shootings Sunday night, police agencies report, and no one there had a criminal record. Relatives and neighbors told newspaper reporters that everything seemed all right.
Worsham was a security guard who had a valid firearm owner’s ID card, required to legally own a gun in Illinois, and a PERC card, which is issued by the state and used to assure employers that a person has passed certain background checks through the use of his fingerprints.
“We don’t have any motive right now,” Dart told me, “but we’re going on the assumption it was some sort of domestic dispute that escalated. We’re really hoping to expedite the ME’s report on the shooter because that could tell us a lot about what happened in that house.”
People like their murder mysteries solved. It’s not enough to know whodunit, but we’ve got to have a motive.
If someone snapped, there had to be a reason. Drugs. Alcohol. Infidelity. Financial problems. A history of mental illness.
No one wants to consider the possibility that someone (who appears quite normal) could one day grab a gun and suddenly murder his wife and two of his children.
Why let the other two kids go? Why keep his promise to let them escape?
He could have killed the 14-year-old and the 5-year-old just as he gunned down the girl.
Maybe something else will be learned in the next few days, details that will satisfy the curious and allow the rest of us to exhale a sigh of relief.
“It couldn’t happen to my family,” everyone wants to say. “Not in my neighborhood.”
And then we can all forget that alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, financial woes and all the other boxes that get checked off during a murder investigation happen — even in the best of families, in the nicest of suburbs.
If you’re waiting for me to blame the availability of guns, well, that isn’t going to happen.
But anyone who dismisses the argument that guns make it easier to kill people is delusional.
The murder of three people in Robbins eventually will disappear from the headlines and our thoughts.
There will be another “horrific” murder of another family somewhere that will grab headlines and draw our interest for a few minutes.
Sometimes, it seems more like the stuff of science fiction rather than “Murder She Wrote.”
Yes, another person murdered his family. Happens all the time.