State Sen. Elgie R. Sims said he and his family were a few feet away from the teen who was fatally shot in a tragic incident at a popular suburban mall Monday.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Sims said he “witnessed two tragedies” Monday evening.
“The first was yet another senseless shooting, as a young man was gunned down literally a few feet away from where I was shopping with my family, along with other families, at Orland Square Mall,” he wrote. “The second was the loss of innocence that died in the eyes of the children who witnessed the horrifying aftermath of the shooting. As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children and shield them from harsh realities. Yesterday, my heart sunk to the pit of my stomach realizing that these children will remember the violence that occurred for years to come.”
Police said Tuesday that there was a manhunt underway for the suspect involved in the shooting at the Orland Park mall. Authorities asked for the public’s help and said the suspected gunman was considered “armed and dangerous.”
Orland Park police identified the suspect as 19-year-old Jakharr Williams, of the 600 block of Madisen Lane in University Park, saying he had an active parole warrant.
Officers responded to multiple 911 calls reporting a shooting inside Orland Square Mall, located at 288 Orland Square Drive, at around 6:45 p.m., Orland Park police said in a statement.
The victim was shot near the food court and collapsed outside an H&M clothing store, Orland Park Deputy Police Chief Joseph Mitchell said. He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
Witnesses told police that two males were involved in an altercation when one of them pulled out a handgun and opened fire, striking the other multiple times.
Mitchell said an innocent bystander also suffered a graze wound during the gunfire and took themselves to a hospital in La Grange.
Police said they believe Williams and Britten knew one another, and that the shooting was an isolated incident.
Williams was seen fleeing the mall on foot and remained at large Tuesday morning.
He was described as a black man, standing at around 6 feet and 1 inch tall, wearing black clothing and blue jeans, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said there were “numerous casings” in the food court area where the victim was shot in the chest.
“This mall is one of the safest malls in the Chicagoland area,” he said. “And I want to reassure (mall visitors) them that we are gonna use every resource available to find and arrest this individual who’s responsible for this case.”
Sims said the incident is “yet another tragic reminder that the gun violence epidemic has only worsened in our country.” He called for universal background checks, cracking down on straw purhcases and illegal weapon sales and limiting access to high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons.
Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to contact Orland Park police at (708) 349-4111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.