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Chicago Police Says Man Suspected of Killing Eight People Was Related to the Victims

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The late Romeo Nance
Source: AP

A man suspected of killing eight people in suburban Chicago last weekend was related to most of the victims. Authorities revealed this on Tuesday, a day after the 23-year-old fatally shot himself during a confrontation with cops in Texas.

The Illinois authorities believe all eight people killed and a ninth person wounded were shot on Sunday. After which, Romeo Nance ran away. However, they said there is no evidence of a motive for the killings yet. 

“We can’t get inside his head,” Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans said. “We just don’t have any clue as to why he did what he did.”

Investigators believe Nance first shot seven people at two relatives’ homes in the city of Joliet on Sunday. Then he fired randomly at two men. One was outside an apartment building, and another was on a residential street. 

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The police have yet to determine the victims’ exact relationships to Nance. Their names are Christine Esters, 38; Tamaeka Nance, 47; William Esters II, 35; Joshua Nance, 31; and Alexandria Nance, 20. The names of two teenage girls, 14 and 16, is not public information yet.

Authorities have also identified the man killed outside the apartment building as Toyosi Bakare, a 28-year-old Nigerian who had been living in the U.S. for about three years. Nance fatally shot himself Monday evening after U.S. Marshals located him near Natalia, Texas.

Police found bodies of his victims Sunday and Monday at three separate homes. Police were first notified of the now-late Bakare, then, shortly after, they learned of a man shot in the leg outside a home nearby.

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Curtis Ellis said he lives next door to the man wounded in the shooting and captured it on a surveillance camera that covers their street. The footage shows the driver of a red car speaking briefly to Ellis’ neighbor before driving to the end of the block, making a U-turn, then stopping and firing nine times. 

Ellis had been watching the Detroit Lions play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL playoff game when he heard the shots. He saw his hurt neighbor outside and called the police.

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“That could have been me or my wife in the front yard, which is scary,” Ellis, 56, said. “You haven’t done nothing to anybody, why would somebody just target to shoot you?”

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Medina County, Texas, Sheriff Randy Brown said his office was alerted on Monday, January 22, about a suspect in the Chicago-area killings heading into the county on Interstate 35.

According to Brown, the suspect may have been trying to reach Mexico. “It seems like they (criminal suspects) all head to Mexico,” Brown said Tuesday. The Texas Rangers are looking into Nance’s death and believe he shot himself. 

Police used video surveillance and license plate readers to identify the car of the suspected shooter late Sunday and to set up patrols near his known addresses. By Monday, there was no sign of the car, so deputies went to Nance’s last known address around noon.

No one answered the door, causing them to go to another home connected to Nance and his family across the street. There, they saw blood on the door and bullet holes on the outside of the house.

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Police forced their way into both addresses and found the bodies of the seven people killed. The Illinois shooting is the fourth mass killing in the U.S. this year. The third happened Sunday in another Chicago-area suburb, Tinley Park, where a man killed his wife and three adult daughters.

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