Police in suburban Oak Brook are still searching for one of the suspects who opened fire at a crowded shopping center on Thursday night, but Friday shoppers returned with some added security in the area.
Shoppers seeking out last-minute holiday gifts were able to go back into stores on Christmas Eve, but they were joined by additional police that were patrolling the area following Thursday’s shooting.
“Yesterday I was here right before the shooting, and had planned on going back later, so I’m glad I didn’t do that,” one customer said.
Just before 6 p.m., several people opened fire outside of Ann Taylor and Nordstrom at the mall, sending shoppers diving for cover. At least three customers were hurt by the gunfire, as was one of the suspects in the shooting.
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That suspect, along with a second individual, were both taken into custody after the shooting, but a third remains at-large on Friday.
Danielle Hopkins says she was at the Apple store with her mom and 8-week-old puppy when the gunfire rang out, and they were forced to stay in the store for four hours as police searched for the suspect.
“The SWAT team came in, and they were armed with very large guns,” she said. “We all had to walk out in single-file with our hands up. I’ve never been in a situation like that.”
Police worked as quickly as they could to clear the large mall, searching for possible victims and suspects. In some instances, police were forced to break glass to get into stores.
“Some of the places were locked and no one was left inside,” Sgt. Reid Foltyniewicz of the Oak Brook Police Department said. “Other people were just afraid to come to the door. So we have to get in there because we don’t know what we may find.”
Police say the scene was cleared by midnight.
In the aftermath of the shooting, authorities credited mall employees for doing a great job in ensuring customer safety amid the chaos, but the search continues for the third suspect in the incident.
No charges have yet been filed, and police are still investigating what caused the incident.