EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Police in north suburban Evanston say they have linked a bank robber who was shot and killed earlier this week to the murders of two brothers at a local tobacco shop in July.
Kevin Ross was shot and killed on Monday, after allegedly robbing a Chase Bank branch in the 900 block of Grove Street. When police approached him after the robbery, and he refused to drop his weapon, officers shot and killed Ross.Evanston police said, while investigating Ross after the robbery, they found a storage locker he was using, containing the IDs of 34-year-old Mobeen Hakeem and the Social Security card of 38-year-old Azim Hakeem. The Hakeem brothers were found shot to death inside the family-owned Evanston Pipe & Tobacco Shop on Davis Street on July 30.
The shop had been operating in downtown Evanston for more than 30 years, and the brothers had been running it for about five years, after their father — an immigrant from India — became wheelchair-bound.
Police found the brothers inside the shop, shot to death, after relatives called them because they had not heard from the men for several hours on July 30. The family did not see any signs of forced entry, or a robbery.
During their investigation of Ross, detectives recovered a .22-caliber shell casing “of a unique brand that was consistent with the shell casings found at the crime scene,” Evanston police said. The shell casing will be sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for comparison to shell casings found at the tobacco shop.
Police also found a receipt from a purchase from the tobacco shop in May, indicating Ross had visited she shop before the murders.
An assault rifle was also recovered, leading detectives to the discovery that Ross purchased a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun in June 2013 at a Chicago area gun shop. Detectives have yet to find that weapon, and are trying to determine if Ross sold it.
Family members of the murder victims told media outlets Friday they are skeptical about Ross being the killer, saying that is a convenient explanation for Evanston police. The family planned a news conference Saturday.
Police said Ross had no known prior arrests, and had a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Detectives have determined he previously lived in Florida, and are checking with the FBI to see if he has any criminal background outside Illinois.
Detectives also have obtained Ross’ computer, and will examine it for further evidence.
Jeremy Smith says Ross had been trying to beat a drug addiction. Smith speculates Ross finally gave up on life during that final encounter with police.
“What person in their right mind robs a bank and just strolls down the street and when five officers come to the scene, they tell you to drop the weapon; you don’t drop the weapon? Obviously, there was something wrong there,” he tells CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli.