Uber driver

Uber Driver From NW Indiana on Life Support After Cicero Attempted Robbery

NBC Universal, Inc.

A juvenile is in custody in connection to a shooting that critically injured an Uber driver Monday night during what Cicero police say was an attempted robbery.

Authorities say they are still looking for three additional suspects in the shooting.

Family identified the victim as Joe Schelstraete, 38. His aunt told NBC 5 he was a father of three working two jobs to make ends meet. Several residents who live nearby, including Aline Gomez, heard the shooting.

 “We came outside (and) the car was right there parked at the corner,” said Gomez. “It was a blue car and the guy was still there. He was unconscious because he was shot.”

Gomez said her dad and uncles were sitting on the front steps when they noticed something suspicious across the street.

“My dad was actually here standing right here and then when we saw the four men approaching,” she said. “He’s like, no something bad is going to happen and then they heard the shot and went straight in.”

Cicero police were called last night at approximately 7:30 p.m. to the intersection 23rd Street and 55th Avenue. Police said the victim was driving for Uber when he was confronted by four male suspects at the intersection.

It’s unclear if there was a struggle, but the victim was shot in the head. He was taken to Loyola Hospital in critical condition. He is currently on life support, according to authorities.

“He’s not officially deceased,” said Cicero police chief Jeff Chlada. “They are keeping him alive by machine."

Police said the four male suspects took off running with some of the victim’s belongings. A witness told NBC 5 the suspects ran into a gangway. One of them was caught just blocks away.

“We do have one subject a juvenile in custody and we are pursuing some other subjects of interest at this point in time,” said the police chief.

Gomez and other neighbors are worried about their safety, as it was just three weeks ago when police received a call for another carjacking at the same intersection.

“It was kinda concerning because it was the second time it happened the first time it didn’t happen like too that extreme until now,” said Gomez.

Police are still investigating to see if the two cases are connected. Meanwhile, a family from northwest Indiana is now grieving, and hoping police will make additional arrests soon.

“He truly is a victim just at the wrong place at the wrong time unfortunately because by all accounts we can tell he’s just a hardworking guy,” Chlada said.

Police have not released a description of the suspects.

Uber released a statement: “We are saddened to hear about the senseless act of violence that took the life of Mr. Schelstraete. Our thoughts are with his family and we are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”

Contact Us