Three Slain in Darien Home Invasion

Attack did not appear to be random, say police

By Kim Vatis and Dick Johnson
|  Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 PM CDT
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Investigators prepare to go inside the home where three people were found shot to death in Darien, Ill., Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Three people have been found shot dead in the Chicago suburb of Darien in what officials describe as a home invasion. Police Chief Robert Pavelchic says a young woman called 911 early Tuesday while she was hiding in a closet. Pavelchic says officers found the three victims dead when they arrived at the house. Detectives are talking to the woman. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

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Neighbors React to Early Morning Shooting

Resident's of Darien, Illinois display grief after hearing about a murder in their neighborhood.
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Sources close to the investigation into the deaths of three suburban family members say they're talking to the boyfriend of the family's oldest daughter, but stress that they're talking to many acquaintances and looking into several possible scenarios.

Jeffrey Kramer, 50, his wife Lori Kramer, 48, and their son Michael, 20, were found dead in a home on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive in the Tara Hills subdivision of Darien after the daughter, who was hiding in a closet, called 911, police said.

The attack did not appear to be random. 

According to sources, something crashed through the front window of the home at around 3 a.m., prompting Jeffrey Kramer and his wife to rush down stairs to check it out.  Both were shot and killed.

The murders are Darien's first in more than a decade, said John Cooper, deputy police chief in the city of about 20,000.

Michael Kramer was sleeping on a family room couch recovering from surgery and rushed to the front of the house when he heard the noise.  His 17-year-old girlfriend who was in the house said Michael yelled, "Oh my God" before he was killed.

The girlfriend then ran out the back door and, in her bare feet, ran to a neighbor's house.  One neighbor finally let her in.

Sources tell NBC Chicago that teen has relayed information to police about how there had been ongoing issues between the family's oldest daughter and her boyfriend.

The oldest daughter, 25-year-old Angela Kramer, hid in a closet and called police when she heard the gunshots.  Another son, 29-year-old Anthony, crawled out of a basement window when officers arrived.

"All of a sudden he starts crawling out of a window, which surprised everyone,'' Police Chief Robert Pavelchic said

All three victims were shot, but no weapon has been recovered. Jeffery and Michael were found on the first floor and Laurie was found on the stairway leading to the second floor of the home.  Their bodies were removed from the home early Tuesday afternoon and taken to the DuPage County Coroner's Office, roughly 15 hours after their lives ended. 

Police have not released information as to the type of gun used or the number of shots fired. 

"The neighborhood is not in danger," Pavelchic said. "This does not appear to be a random act. It doesn't appear there's a suspect running around the neighborhood."

Neighbors shocked by the violence and, still in their bedroom attire, rushed to see the scene.  They said that while there have been a few break-ins in the neighborhood lately, there was nothing to warm them of Tuesday's incident.

"They're a fantastic family," said neighbor Donna Hovorka. "If you needed anything they were there for you."

Hovorka's husband has been friends with the father since third grade. 

"That's my best friend," he said tearfully.

The family owns Kramer's Towing, in Cicero, and police are looking into whether there's a connection between the business and the violence. 

Evidence technicians spent the day combing the house for evidence, which remained a crime scene late Tuesday night.  Only one call to police, an April 12, 2009 call about an argument between Laurie and Angela, came up during a search of records.

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