TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — On this day four years ago, five women were shot to death in a Tinley Park Lane Bryant store.
The gunman has never been found.
But as WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the town’s mayor says it’s far from a cold case.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
“You don’t like to be known as the town where the killing happened at Lane Bryant,” said Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki, who was serving in 2008.
In the incident, a robber stormed into the store in the Brookside Marketplace Mall, in what is believed to be robbery attempt. He took the store manager, an employee, and four customers to the back, and shot them all.
Store manager Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet; Connie Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; Sarah Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest; Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort; and Jennifer Bishop, 34, of South Bend, were all killed. A sixth woman was also shot and wounded.
The killer quickly escaped. Sketches were released, and a $100,000 reward was offered, but they still have turned up no suspects.
The store remained a crime scene for more than a year after the shooting. The store never reopened.
This year, Zabrocki says the anniversary is a triple tragedy – for the families, for the community, and for the loss of Michael O’Connell, the police chief who died last May.
Zabrocki he says O’Connell’s main mission had been to solve the murders.
Zabrocki says they’ve gotten more than 6,000 tips. Last year – they received 150.
And he says it’s not a cold case. But an arrest?
“I’m concerned it’s liable to turn into one of that Browns Chicken thing,” he said. “It may take awhile.”
The 1993 Brown’s Chicken massacre in Palatine left seven people dead, and remained unsolved until 2002. But ultimately, the case was indeed solved, and the killers, Juan Luna and James Degorski, are now serving life prison sentences.
Meanwhile, the lone survivor of the Lane Bryant massacre describes the killer as African-American, 25 to 35 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and well-groomed down to his manicured fingernails. His hair was done up in corn rows with one single braid hanging from the right side adorned with four green beads.