The Shot that shook Mount Prospect

Local shooting puts everyone on edge



Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Dean Carlson, Executive Online Editor

On what seemed to be a normal Thursday morning, Kelly Simon was suddenly woken up by simultaneous gunshots that she, at first, thought to be construction. 

“I got out of bed super quick and said to myself, ‘Were those gunshots!?’… Then there was about a 10-second pause and I heard six to eight additional shots … So then I went outside and saw all of the police activity,” Simon said.

According to 19-year Mount Prospect Police Department public information officer Greg Sill, at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday, November 17, the Mount Prospect police responded to an aggravated discharge of a firearm on the 100 block of South I-Oka Avenue. The responders eventually found later that the homeowner went to walk his dog while waiting for his car to warm up. On his way back, he heard a suspicious noise in his driveway. When he went to ascertain these mysterious sounds, he observed a person walking away from his vehicle that was in the driveway. Thereafter, the homeowner questioned this suspicious person about his presence. The subject then sprinted to a waiting car that was in the middle of the street. As the subject found his way back to the waiting vehicle, he or an accomplice unleashed a firearm aimed toward the homeowner and began firing multiple rounds. Thankfully, the homeowner was able to dive for cover and was able to dodge all of the incoming bullets. However, the homeowner did lose two things: his assurance for his known-to-be-safe neighborhood and his dog, which fled the scene as soon as the rounds were shot.

In the press release for this ongoing investigation, it is said that one of the perpetrators is a “Black male, thin build, wearing a white colored shirt or sweater and red or orange pants or shorts.” The police department has also located the dark-colored SUV, that is said to be the waiting vehicle during the event, in Chicago. Not much information can be gathered from this vehicle because it was found unoccupied and also happened to be stolen. The investigative unit has confirmed that nine-millimeter shell casings were found on the ground, which seems to explain the damage to the garage. 

“That house had bullet holes in the garage. [The bullets] could have clearly hit the homeowner or the homeowner’s family with children inside. [The bullets] could have gone through a window and could have hit them while getting ready for school. It’s very unfortunate and makes me very angry,” Simon said. “This is happening more and more in the city. In the suburbs, everyone feels safe and that’s when your guard is left down, and it’s a perfect opportunity for crime to come here unfortunately. But I am hopeful, with neighbors being more aware and calling the police if you see any suspicious [activity].”

To prevent something like this from happening again, Officer Greg Sill advises everyone to prioritize their own safety first.

“We know that this was a very scary situation … if you see or think that someone is going into your vehicle … make sure you get to safety, please don’t confront that person,” Sill said. “I know that is your natural inclination … but unfortunately, we’ve seen that as that person usually has gone to using a firearm or bringing a firearm with them. So to be safe, we want to remind people, ‘Don’t check out what is happening, move to safety, call 911 and get the police response there as soon as possible.’ Life is worth more than a car … Life is worth so much more.”

Because of the low crime rate in Mount Prospect, residents seem to counteract this request simply by not knowing what to actually do. This is why there has been a trend in vehicle and vehicle part thefts since Sill has taken his position. Simon believes not only vehicle thefts are on the rise, but other crimes will soon come forth also.

“I am worried about [crime rising], the people that do this type of thing have no regard for human life, they don’t see any consequences for their actions, and even if they do get caught, they are let go to do it again and again,” Simon said. “This neighborhood, along with other neighborhoods in the Northwest suburb, has a perfect criminal opportunity so [those criminals] can just come in here unexpectedly and they can take advantage of innocent people.”

However, Kathy Goldberg, a lifelong resident of Mount Prospect, does not see eye to eye.

“I’m not necessarily worried. It just wouldn’t surprise me. I think that the Mount Prospect police are doing everything they can to catch these people and I think … it was just an unusual situation as opposed to something that usually appears,” Goldberg said.

To prevent this from happening again in Mount Prospect, Officer Sill suggests taking extra precautions to ensure everyone’s safety, similar to the safety measures that Simon has taken. Simon currently has set up cameras outside of her house and is even considering purchasing a firearm to protect herself and her family because she feels as though crimes will be rising in the Northwest suburbs. 

To keep these crimes down, Sill advises everyone to add these extra ‘layers’ to their house. These layers include having extra locks or installing a deadbolt, having security cameras, having an alarm system, etc.

“The more layers you have, the less opportunity you give the person who is trying to break into your house or car a chance to do maximum damage,” Sill said.

On top of those precautions, Simon, along with her family, will no longer be letting their cars warm up in the driveway during the winter as criminals, like those in this incident, might be looming in the neighborhood for this perfect opportunity.

“It really shook me up … I start my car in the morning; my daughter starts her car in the morning. I really had to ask myself, ‘Should we be doing this?’” Simon said. “From this experience, we can tell that if somebody wanted a car badly enough and if it was locked they would probably wait for us to come outside, so I am actually really scared.”

As unusual as it may seem to consider purchasing a firearm, in the case of Simon, Sill warns citizens that Mount Prospect isn’t a perfect neighborhood, so they should be ready when an event like this happens.

“We have seen other crimes happening in Mount Prospect. While we are a safe community, just like a lot of the other safe communities around us, it doesn’t keep us from having crimes happen,” Sill said.

Among adding several layers of security to prevent this from happening again, Sill says that the Mount Prospect community needs to unify and conjoin with one another to assist the police when they have their hands full with criminals. Sill pleads for the public to have the police department’s back and watch the blind spots that they can’t.

“We’re doing our part and we will always try to be better to serve the community. But we can’t be everywhere at once and that is where we are always encouraging our residents to be safe and to do their part as well, and that is where 911 comes into play,” says Sill.

Making things more difficult, whenever would-be criminals see a police officer nearby, they act normally, in order to avoid suspicion.

“We can obviously go out and drive around,” Sill said. “You can see a police car from a mile away; we want [the community] to see us coming and doing our part but, unfortunately, we also know that if someone was looking to commit a crime they would also be able to see us, so they would wait until they believe we are not around and then commit the crime.”

This is when the police ask the community to unify and become their eyes and ears, calling 911 if they see something suspicious. It is only through this unification with the residents of Mount Prospect and the Mount Prospect Police Department, Sill says, that citizens can make an impact and protect the community by stopping any potential crime.

“We encourage everyone to do their part: to be observant, making sure you are locking your doors, making sure your valuables are out of your car,” Sill said. “We have to make sure that if they see someone who is looking suspicious to immediately call 911. Even if you aren’t sure, it is much better to call and have officers check it out … We are encouraging people to call [911] more if you see someone that is looking into cars.” 

Sill says it is through this action that the community can put residents of Mount Prospect who may feel great emotion and fear toward the perpetrator, like Simon, at ease.

“I would say that you should really have regard for human life. Bullets have no name, so when you shoot that bullet it could hit someone innocent … We people work hard for a living, people work hard to have what they have. I would pray for [the shooter] and really hope that they get some additional education and get some additional work training and go to work rather than to steal people’s property to make money,” says Simon.





From the press release: “The investigation into this aggravated discharge of a firearm continues and anyone with information or video footage that might assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Mount Prospect Police department Investigations Section at 847-870-5654.”

“With COURAGE we protect, with COMPASSION we serve,” The Mt. Prospect police department slogan.