Greetings all. I was looking through the Cold Case threads and had no idea this was still unsolved!! I remember it quite clearly. It seems like they have a great deal of evidence but have gotten nowhere. Like some have speculated, perhaps the shooter is deceased? If they were unstable, perhaps they killed themselves shortly after. However, the church connections are interesting indeed but I guess they went nowhere either. I'm not sure whether I think it was a botched robbery or a targeted hit of one of the victims.
So very sad. Praying for justice for the victims and their families.
True Crime Garage ( a very good podcast by the way) brought up some interesting points.
It was the practice at all Lane Bryants to keep all receipts for the day in a safe and then count and deposit them the next morning. The shop opened at 10:00AM. The assailant arrived soon after 10:00AM posing as a deliveryman. He claimed to have a delivery and was convincing enough that he was invited back to the Mangers office while she called to head office to try to figure out what it was all about.
Since the store was already open and customers had started coming in, there was no need for a rouse. He could just as well pretended to be a customer. While there is no information available about the disposition of the safe or the prior days receipts, the reported loss, less than $300, suggests that this was just the days operating cash and the prior days receipts had already been deposited.
The guys at the Garage speculated that the plan was to get to the store before it opened while the cash from the safe was being processed. The delivery pretense was planned in hopes of getting the manager to open the door. The assailant messed up by not knowing when the store opened.
That still doesnt explain why everyone was shot. Presumably his plan was to let everyone see his face without killing anyone. He probably panicked when he heard the 911 operator and shot everyone without thinking when the obvious thing to do was to get out of there fast. He was a incompetent criminal who got very lucky. It happens.
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There is so much about this that is baffling to me: the choice of target; the timing; the devolution into mass murder; the seeming planning that went into this contrasted with the clear lack of forethought when things went off the rails.
I'm curious if ISP or Tinley Park police have looked into the possibility that the perpetrator was someone with a history of mental illness & periodic institutionalization. Given that the offender had a weapon, they likely had ties to criminality but may not have had a criminal record or had one that was minor enough to escape notice in Illinois or NW Indiana. Perhaps the perp ran into money trouble and sought what he thought would be an easy target (small store, only women present, little to no security) only to panic and snap when things went wrong due to underlying instability. It would certainly explain the bizarre plan & inability to improvise.
The hairstyle is something that's been noted before, and I think it could play into this as well: if you're getting cornrows done, that takes time and money (or at least did back when all my friends had them before it went out of style). The hair the offender had says to me that this person didn't have the means to get their hair done properly for one reason or another, and got this done at home. The braid may have be a touch of personal flair, or have some other significance. But this was not a person who could get their hair done properly.