After a father of three was shot and badly injured during an attempted robbery in suburban Cicero Monday, the man’s family is left with shattered emotions, describing him as a kind man who worked two jobs in order to support his children.
Joe Schelstraete, 38, was working as an Uber driver Monday night when he was approached by four individuals. Surveillance footage shows the assailants walking to the intersection near 23rd Place and 55th Avenue. One of the individuals then opened fire, striking Schelstraete in the head.
He was taken to Loyola Hospital in critical condition, and is on life support, his family says.
Kim Bova, the victim’s aunt, says she remembers him by the smile on his face and the love in his heart.
“He just was quick to give you a hug, smiling and so happy to see you,” she said. “He was always asking how you were doing and what was new in your life.”
She says the Hobart-native worked hard to support his three kids, a son and two daughters.
“He was doing the Uber job as a part-time supplement to his full-time job at the steel mill,” Bova said.
Schelstraete was picking up a rider in Cicero at the time of the incident. All four males quickly fled the scene southbound after the shooting, and while one was taken into custody, three others remain at large.
Tuesday night, Cicero Police Chief Jerry Shlada shared a message to the other three individuals.
“You’ve affected so many lives with tremendous pain,” he said in calling for the assailants to come forward.
Police are investigating a separate carjacking at the same location on May 11, and are looking into whether the same group of individuals was responsible for that incident.
As the criminal investigation continues, a family is in mourning and trying to support the three children in an hour of crisis.
“They’re going to be okay,” Bova said. “They have a wonderful support system. It’s just something, we need the grace of God and time to get through this, and inch through it each day.”