Sheriff: Shootings in Beecher, Lowell appear to be random

2010-10-05T23:15:00Z 2011-09-19T11:35:18Z Sheriff: Shootings in Beecher, Lowell appear to be randomBy Times Staff nwitimes.com
October 05, 2010 11:15 pm  • 

LOWELL | The manhunt continues for a gunman who shot people in Illinois and Indiana on Tuesday morning, killing one and injuring at least two others.

The suspect was last seen about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, headed north on Cline Avenue from the Lowell area, Lake County Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez said.

The crimes appear to be random, with no connections among the victims, he said.

According to Pat Barry, spokesman for the Will County Sheriff's Department, the first shooting took place about 10:30 a.m. at a residential construction site in the 32000 block of Stony Island Avenue in Washington Township, Ill.

Three employees of Dyer-based Rich Construction, all Indiana residents, were working at the scene when they were approached by the suspect, who shot two of the men while the third escaped into a nearby cornfield, where he waited until officers arrived, police said.

Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas said the man approached construction workers and asked if the home was for sale. He returned a few minutes later, asking about building materials, before opening fire, Kaupas said.

One victim, 45-year-old Rolando Alonso, of Hammond, was pronounced dead at 2:55 p.m. by the Will County coroner's office. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The second victim, 19-year-old Josh Garza, of Hammond, was airlifted in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., Barry said.

The man who escaped into the field also is 19.

Kaupas said no bullets were found at the scene.

At 11:28 a.m., the shooter drove up to farmer Keith Dahl near 201st and Cline avenues, south of Lowell. Dahl was in his pickup truck when the shooter pulled alongside him, talked to him about honeybees and shot him three times, police said.

Dahl played dead as the shooter stole his wallet. When the shooter left, Dahl pulled over to the side of the road and called police, Lake County Sheriff Detective Robert Martinez said.

Dahl, who is in his mid-60s, was taken to St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point with gunshot wounds and remains in stable condition, Dominguez said.

A bullet recovered at the scene appears to have come from a Colt .38 or .357 revolver because no shell casings were found, Dominguez said.

Authorities provided conflicting reports on the number of people injured. Barry said two people were shot in the Illinois incident, but Dominguez said three people were shot.

Police are looking for a white man in his 30s or 40s, between 5 foot 10 inches and 6 feet tall, weighing between 220 and 260 pounds, wearing a greenish blue jacket, a baseball hat and light jeans. He appeared to be disheveled, police said.

The man is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him should take safety precautions and then call 911, Dominguez said.

"We know that someone who does this obviously has a number of personality difficulties," he said.

He was seen driving a silver or gray 1990s Chevrolet pickup truck, possibly a Cheyenne.

"As of right now we do not have a motive for the shooting here in Lake County," Dominguez said.

Police do not think Tuesday's shootings are related to recent BB gun shootings in the area, he said.

Lowell schools were put on lockdown about noon Tuesday, and as of 3:30 p.m. kids still were in school.

Sports activities scheduled for Tuesday were rescheduled to today.

An all-points bulletin was issued to law enforcement in the top third of the state, and all local schools were notified, Dominguez said.

Hanover schools also were locked down, Lake County Police Chief Marco Kuyachich said.

Tri-Creek Superintendent Alice Neal said district officials received a call from the Lake County Sheriff's Department at noon about an incident under investigation in the community. Tri-Creek operates five schools – a high school, middle school and three elementary buildings.

"We were told to lock the schools as a precaution," she said. "No one has tried to get into any of our buildings."

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