Four shot in ‘scary’ Oak Brook incident

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Four shot in 'scary' Oak Brook incident

Four people were wounded when gunfire erupted at a Chicago-area mall, sending frightened last-minute holiday shoppers and employees scurrying for cover.

Two gunmen opened fire on each other at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday in a corridor at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook. One of the suspects, who was not immediately identified, was wounded and taken into custody, while cops were still searching for the second shooter, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Three women at the outdoor mall about 15 miles west of Chicago were also shot and were expected to survive, Oak Brook police Chief James Kruger said.

About 100 cops descended on the suburban mall following the gunfire to track down the other suspected shooter. Some shoppers were still hiding inside stores alongside mall workers, Kruger said.

“We believe at this time there are still many patrons that have been in some of the stores that are in backrooms with the employees,” Kruger told reporters at a news conference.

Police direct people to safety out of the parking lot of Oakbrook Mall
Police direct people to safety out of the parking lot of Oakbrook Mall after a shooting incident there.
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

The wounded man, who is in his 30s, was shot three or four times. He was taken into custody along with a companion of the gunman still being sought, police said.

The three wounded women – including two who were shot in the thigh — were being treated at a hospital late Thursday. A woman in her 20s also fractured her ankle while trying to flee the gunfire, Kruger said.

“This is just a very unfortunate incident that is completely out of character for our area,” the chief told reporters.

Witnesses told investigators they heard up to 15 shots in all, the Tribune reported.

Oak Brook Mall shooting
The mall was placed on lockdown amid the shooting, with some shoppers not sent home until 8:30 p.m.
(Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

The mall, meanwhile, is expected to be open Friday with increased police presence, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Certainly, this took us by surprise,” Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani told the newspaper. “But our police officers acted quickly and responsibly, and they made whatever arrest that they could.”

Alex Gay, 23, of Chicago, was at the mall with her boyfriend when she started seeing other shoppers and security guards running, she told the Tribune.

“I’m shook up,” Gay said. “It was scary. Everyone was sprinting out of the mall as sirens went over intercom saying, ‘Emergency. Evacuate. Seek shelter.’ I almost got trampled. I was scared the shooter was near me.”

Police and EMS services outside of the entrance to the Nordstrom store in Oakbrook Mall
Three people were shot in the incident, and another woman fractured her ankle trying to flee the gunfire.
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Another shopper said she was among a group of people searched by cops inside Nordstrom for hours after the gunfire, ultimately being sent home at about 8:30 p.m., the Sun-Times reported.

Jennifer Shofner, 39, of Oak Park, was waiting in line to buy candles when a wave of people led by employees started heading down a stairwell.

“I keep thinking that I was potentially seven minutes from being at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Shofner told the Sun-Times.

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