Online brawl at pretzel shop led to Oakbrook Center shooting
An argument between three men queuing at a pretzel store two days before Christmas resulted in a shootout that left one of the men and four bystanders gunned down at Oakbrook Center shopping mall, prosecutors said.
Steve L. Lane, 29, and Tyran Williams, 32, both of Chicago, face multiple felony charges in connection with the December 23 shooting at the Oak Brook Mall. They appeared at a bail hearing on Wednesday morning.
“The allegations that these two men opened fire in a shopping center crowded with 15,000 to 20,000 people, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, are proof of a degree of unreasonable violence and total and utter disregard for public safety, “he added. DuPage County District Attorney Robert Berlin said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Lane, of block 6900 of Sough Cregier Avenue, is charged with aggravated firearm discharge. He is also charged with four counts of aggravated firearm discharge to a person and one count of aggravated illegal use of a weapon.
Williams, of the 7200 block of South Fairfield Avenue, is charged with five counts of aggravated discharging a weapon to a person and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a criminal.
The third man has been identified by authorities, but they have not disclosed his name. They make arrangements to speak to him.
The shooting happened at around 5:44 p.m. in the wing of the Nordstrom department store.
According to Berlin, Lane and the third man entered the mall, visited a store, and then proceeded to the pretzel store.
The third man got into an argument with Williams as they stood in line.
Deputy State Attorney Rob Willis said during Williams’ bail hearing that the argument concerned comments made on social media that were seen as disrespectful.
Next, Williams and Lane shot each other with 9mm handguns, prosecutors said. At least 12 shots were fired.
Williams has been hit four times. Three women and a man were also injured by gunfire. Another woman injured her foot while trying to escape.
All the women were transported by ambulance to hospitals. The man drove himself and reported the injury later.
Berlin said witnesses told mall security and Oak Brook police that they saw Lane running towards the Nordstrom store. They also said he used a teal-colored handgun. A teal-colored handgun was found near the store, and Lane’s DNA was found on it, according to Berlin.
Two weeks earlier, Lane had a photo of a teal-colored pistol on his cell phone, prosecutors said.
A Taurus Model 26 handgun was found near Williams, and his DNA was found on it, according to Berlin. He said a witness saw Williams drop the gun after being injured.
DuPage County Judge John Kinsella Kinsella set the bond at $ 1 million each for Williams and Lane. Williams appeared in court in a wheelchair. Each man is expected to pay $ 100,000 to be released before trial and should wear a GPS monitor and stay at home, except for medical, legal and religious worship purposes.
Williams has four children and works for a dispatch company. He is also working on opening a restaurant with some of his relatives, his lawyer, David Gaeger, told the judge. Gaeger said he believed Lane was the instigator of the shooting. Williams has a drug conviction.
Lane’s lawyer Gus Kostopoulos said Lane has two children and a third on the way. Kostopoulos said his client worked for a communications company and had no criminal convictions.
Berlin praised the work of law enforcement officers and the forensic lab at the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office.
“The fact that these crimes happened just before Christmas did not slow down or deter investigators from doing what they do best – protecting residents and visitors to DuPage County,” Berlin said.
Oak Brook Chief James Kruger praised his officers and those from other agencies who came to help them.
âWe had two other officers who arrived at the scene and rescued one of the accused (Williams), and it definitely saved his life at that point,â Kruger said. He also said that because Oakbrook Center is an open-air mall, “it was extremely difficult terrain to secure.”
The mall was closed until nearly midnight as police searched stores for a suspect. Many shoppers had taken refuge in the stores when they heard the gunshots.
Berlin stressed that people should feel safe while continuing to shop in the mall.
âIt’s an extremely safe place for people to shop,â Berlin said. “This is an isolated incident and certainly not indicative of what goes on in Oak Brook on a daily basis.”