Video: Ill. chief rams suspects' car after shots fired during funeral procession

Police believe the incident was gang-related and that there have been previous gang problems related to funerals

By Tony Briscoe
Chicago Tribune

HILLSIDE, Ill. — Four people suspected of firing guns from a vehicle during a funeral procession were taken into custody Tuesday in Hillside after the western suburb’s police chief ran his SUV into the suspects’ vehicle following a brief chase.

The incident began just before 2 p.m., when a 911 caller reported shots fired on the Eisenhower Expressway in Forest Park as a funeral procession was traveling west. Moments later, police were dispatched to a call of shots fired at Harrison Street and Mannheim Road in Hillside.

The second 911 caller said gunfire was coming from a vehicle in the funeral procession, said Chief Joseph Lukaszek of the Hillside Police Department.

Lukaszek and other responding officers attempted to pull the car over, but the chief eventually made a decision to ram his SUV into the vehicle to force it to stop.

“I disabled the vehicle to eliminate the threat,” he said.

Two people fled the vehicle but were caught after a brief chase. Three men and a woman, all in their 20s, were taken into custody. Three firearms were recovered from the vehicle, including a Glock handgun with an extended magazine for more than 30 rounds, Lukaszek said.

Four officers, including Lukaszek, were checked for minor injuries related to the pursuit and crash. No one was hurt from the gunfire, he said.

The suspects, along with the other cars traveling with the funeral procession, were headed to Oak Ridge Cemetery in unincorporated Cook County near Hillside, he said.

Police believe the incident was gang-related. Lukaszek said there have been previous gang problems related to funerals. The department has been in touch with religious leaders and the Cook County sheriff’s office in an attempt to address the issue at nearby cemeteries and funeral homes.

“At Oak Ridge Cemetery, there’s a lot of gang funerals that are completely out of control, people (in the procession) are cutting off cars,” he said. “They came (south on) Mannheim, and we had reports that they were passing motorists and getting in and out of cars.”

The four suspects have a total of more than 160 arrests among them and they remained in custody, awaiting charges, on Tuesday night.

©2017 the Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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