KANKAKEE, Ill. (CBS) — Police in Kankakee believe an internal gang conflict sparked a shootout that left two men dead and a third wounded outside the county courthouse Thursday morning.
Kankakee police Chief Robin Passwater said the shootout involved a “running gun battle” that happened right outside the courthouse in broad daylight.
Around 9:45 a.m., Kankakee police came to were called for a report of an active shooter outside the rear of the courthouse on East Merchant Street, Passwater said.
In south parking lot of the courthouse, police from Momence had already taken Miguel Andrade, 23, into custody as he stood over gunshot victim Antonio Hernandez, 24, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Hernandez is believed to be from Waukegan.
Two other gunshot victims were found on Merchant Street south of the courthouse. One – Victor Andrade, 26, was found in the street and was shot at least once and killed. The other, a 20-year-old man, was found on the sidewalk and survived – he had just been released surgery at an area hospital as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
Police learned that Victor and Miguel Andrade – who are related, but it is not certain how – had gone to the courthouse along with the surviving man for a hearing on an unspecified matter.
As the group left the courthouse, Hernandez came up with multiple weapons and opened fire on Victor Andrade and the surviving gunshot victim, Passwater said.
After Victor Andrade and the other man were shot, Miguel Andrade chased after Hernandez – and they engaged in a “running gun battle” on the south lawn of the courthouse and in the parking lot, Passwater said.
Miguel Andrade shot and killed Hernandez, and then surrender to the Momence officers, Passwater said.
A second man was also apprehended after being seen running from the area. Investigators now believe he was not involved, but he was still in custody late Thursday on an unrelated charge.
Passwater said the Andrades and Hernandez were all members of the Latin Kings and were engaged in a heated internal feud. The man who was shot and survived was not part of the gang, he said.
Two men killed a third wounded in shooting outside the Kankakee Co. Courthouse this morning.
Shell casings spotted at Merchant & Harrison.
— Megan Hickey (@MeganHickeyTV) August 26, 2021
As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, and there were many people coming into and out of the courthouse when the shooting happened. Businesses nearby were also just opening when those dozens of gunshots rang out.
Many rushed out to find Hernandez and Victor Andrade dead.
“This is an odd scene for it to happen right here in this area,” said Isaiah Coiley. “It’s usually safe area – and the courthouse and the sheriff’s department right here.”
Eric Davis, who is an attorney and former police officer, said he was on the first floor of the building when he heard gunshots and peeked around the back exit.
“I saw one person who was just laying unresponsive in the street, and then I saw another person who was laying unresponsive in the parking lot,” Davis told CBS 2.
Coiley said a group of roofers have been working across from the parking lot for the past couple of days, and were working when the shooting happened.
“According to one of the roofers, they screamed at the guy – screamed something to the guy off the roof – and then the guy with the assault rifle turned and aimed towards them and started shooting,” Coiley said.
The witnesses who spoke to Hickey said they were grateful more people were not caught in the crossfire.
“I saw several of the other attorneys that I know ducking and seeking cover and just scrambling. There were several people outside when it was all going on,” Davis said.
“People just going to work, people are going to court, kids are going to school,” Coiley added. “It was senseless.”
— Jermont Terry (@JermontTerry) August 26, 2021
Police recovered “multiple” firearms, including a “long gun,” Passwater said.
All city buildings were temporarily closed as police investigated the shooting, city officials announced.
There are confirmed reports of an active shooter by the courthouse. As a precaution, city buildings will be temporarily closed to the public until we receive more information. Thank you for your understanding pic.twitter.com/g76ogrVnJr
— City of Kankakee (@CityKankakee) August 26, 2021
Kankakee School District 111 placed all schools on lockdown, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.
Anyone with information or who witnessed the shooting is asked to share that information with investigators.