Hundreds of people attended a community memorial service in suburban Chicago commemorating the one-year anniversary of the deadly shootings at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park.
Throughout the last year, those personally connected to the the store and its victims have relived the events of Feb. 2, 2008 thousands of times; the dispatcher who took the 911 call, the police who responded to the scene, those who lost a friend and and the five families whose loved ones were killed.
Maurice Hamilton's sister, Rhoda, was the store manager who called 911 after man came into the store with a gun.
"She broke free. She called the police. She was trying to save those people," Hamilton said.
Mike Hudek's baby girl was born the day after his sister Carrie was killed. He and his wife, who was his sister's best friend, named their daughter Carrie in her memory.
Brian Bishop's wife, Jennifer, was one of the customers murdered that day. Now, he is raising three children on his own.
"You have to come to terms with what reality is," Bishop said. "The reality is she is gone. You don't look too far back or too far forward."
Bishop's mother and father-in-law went to the scene of the shootings for the first time on Monday. They said they couldn't bring themselves to visit that location before now.
They were on their way to a noon one-year memorial service, which will "for the first, time unite five different families through the common thread of this tragedy," Jean Bishop said.
While the lives of these families have changed dramatically, the store where the brutal crime happened seems frozen in time. It remains sealed as a crime scene, kept exactly the way it was in case a clue is somehow hidden inside.
Phil Valois, the Tinley Park Commander on the case, said they have received 5600 leads along with many questions.
Why would a gunman rob a women's clothing store with little cash? Why would he commit the crime during broad daylight on a Saturday in the suburbs?
"There're a lot of theories, " Valois said. "He might have had bad info. He might not have thought it out very well. There's any number of reasons he might have done it the way he did it."
Whether the motive was money or murder, the victims families say the crime will never be about the man who committed it. To them, Feb. 2 will be remembered as the day they lost the women they loved.
Over the past year, police have received 5,600 tips and spent 30,000 hours on the case. The gunman remains at large.
Carrie Hudek was a social worker for Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Carrie's Fund is an Illinois non-profit established to honor her memory.
The second annual Carrie Fest will be held in May to raise funds to help some of Carrie's former students with getting scholarships and grants needed for supplies and computer equipment. Last year's event raised more than $150,000 for Carrie's scholarship fund.
More information is available at www.carriesfund.org.
Or contact Carrie's brother at email@example.com.