Reporting Regine Schlesinger
CHICAGO (CBS) - The gunman who shot and killed a woman and himself in broad daylight in the Edgewater neighborhood was a Cook County correctional officer, offiicals said Tuesday.
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The shooting happened outside on the 6200 block of North Sheridan Road about 3:20 p.m. Monday, according to police News Affairs Officer Darryl Baety. The incident is being investigated as a murder-suicide, police said.
WBBM Newsradio 780′s Regine Schlesinger reports the man and woman were walking east toward the lake on Granville Avenue, when the man suddenly pulled out a gun and fired a total of at least eight shots at the woman — five of them after she had already fallen. The man sat down on the curb and shot himself in the head, as two children walking past took cover, the witness told the Chicago Tribune.
The man who shot himself is identified as Alexander Rojo, 50, of Plainfield. He was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston at 3:55 p.m. Monday, according to a Cook County Medical Examiner’s office spokeswoman.
The woman was identified as Nancy Rojo, 53, who is believed to be Alexander Rojo’s estranged wife. She was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Hospital at 3:49 p.m. Monday, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.
Rojo had worked as a correctional officer at the Cook County Jail since 1998. He was assigned to work in a specialized unit that responds to emergencies or security situations at the jail, according to county sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Patterson.
Rojo had no disciplinary history at work. Some younger officers considered him a mentor, and he used his own physical fitness as a motivator for them to work harder, Patterson said.
This past Sunday, Rojo had even run the Chicago Marathon, Patterson said.
Rojo was also a former U.S. Marine who had been honorably discharged in 1983, Patterson said. He worked security jobs before joining the sheriff’s office.
“Some who knew him through work knew he’d been experiencing some difficulties in his personal life, but nothing that caused any concern. They never saw any signs of distress or thought he could do anything like this,” Patterson said by e-mail. “They’re all stunned.”
Officers from the sheriff’s peer support program have been available to Rojo’s colleagues and roll call, Patterson said.
The Sacred Heart/Hardey Prep elementary school is located on the block where the shooting happened. The shooting scene is also only a couple of blocks south of Loyola University’s Lake Shore campus.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.