A gunman shot a female temporary employee in a crowded Magnificent Mile store Friday before turning the gun on himself in what authorities describe as an attempted murder-suicide.
The shooting happened on the first floor of the Nordstrom's store, at 55 E. Grand Ave., shortly after 8:30 p.m. Police said they believe the victim was either the "girlfriend or ex girlfriend" of the gunman.
Store employee Janis Tillman said she was in the shoe department when she heard a bang and dropped to the floor before hearing a second bang.
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“I just heard two shots,” said Tillman. “We all ran. Everybody started running to the back of the store.”
The gunman died on the scene and the woman was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where she remained in critical condition as of 10 p.m.
“I was right around the corner when an eyewitness came out. I said, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘I saw somebody. I saw the guy pull out a gun, shot her, and then he then shot himself,’" said shopper Bob Rogers. "She was shaken. Very shaken.”
The female victim was a seasonal employee of the store, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives John J. Escalante said.
Escalante said the incident was domestic-related.
"No other people who were in the store were shot or hurt," he said. "No other people who were in the store were threatened."
The store was evacuated of all shoppers after the shooting, and crime tape remained outside the store as of 10 p.m. A spokeswoman said the store would remain closed on Saturday as a show of support for the victim and to allow employees to regroup.
"It's one of the friendliest stores there is," said Rogers. "You don't expect it to happen right here."