‘Surreal': Calumet City Shoppers Witness Armed Robbers Smash Store Counters, Fatally Shoot Guard

The shooting took place at a mall in Calumet City

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A day of holiday shopping at a south suburban mall on Wednesday turned dangerous and deadly after armed robbers shot and killed a store security guard before making off with an unknown amount of merchandise, police say.

The victim, a 57-year-old jewelry store security guard, was taken to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries, according to officials. He has not yet been identified.

Authorities say the incident occurred at approximately 12:15p.m. Wednesday at a jewelry store inside River Oaks Mall in suburban Calumet City, not far from the border of Illinois and Indiana.

According to police, gunmen entered the jewelry store, smashed glass counters and opened fire. Witnesses say the gunmen struck the guard multiple times before fleeing the scene in a vehicle.

“I heard a round of shots in Macy’s, but it wasn’t just a regular gunshot. It was like an automatic (weapon),” shopper Tracy McGrew said. “I couldn't believe I was in the middle of something that I've only witnessed on TV. It was just surreal.”

McGrew says she was doing some early Christmas shopping on Wednesday when the gunfire erupted. When the incident began, she and a store clerk took cover.

“I saw the brick wall, and I thought ‘those could stop bullets,’ so I went right there,’” said McGrew. “So the two of us locked ourselves into a storage room and called 911.”

Another mall customer, Tonya Davis, says she was getting a pedicure at the time of the shooting.

“I was getting my feet done, and I looked up from my phone. All you could hear was five or more shots,” she said. “The guy was shooting inside the jewelry store.”

Here is the NBC 5 Nightly Update for Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Davis says that by the time she could react, she could see that the guard had been shot and wounded.

“He was laying on the floor, still breathing,” she said. “There was officers on all sides trying to perform CPR.”

George Brown, an employee at a barber shop in the mall, says he knew the guard.

“He used to work with my father at the railroad,” he said. “It’s senseless.”

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, police said the incident appears to be isolated and that a motive is currently unknown.

According to officials, Calumet City officers as well as neighboring police agencies responded to the scene, and stores within the mall "promptly initiated lockdown procedures" when the incident occurred.

The mall will be closed Thursday, authorities say. There is currently no one in custody and police are continuing to investigate the shooting.

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