OAK FOREST, Ill. — One woman is dead and an Oak Forest police officer is hospitalized following a shootout at an Oak Forest-area Food 4 Less store, city officials said Sunday.
Around noon Sunday, residents were advised to avoid the area near 159th Street and Central Avenue for what was described as an ‘active shooter.’
A little more than an hour earlier, just before 11 a.m., Oak Forest officers responded to the 6000 block of 159th Street for a possible motorist needing assistance. Officers learned the driver, 21-year-old Ketura Wilson of Calumet City, Illinois, was armed with a firearm at the scene.
According to police, officers followed Wilson east on 159th Street following a traffic incident.
Wilson entered the Food 4 Less grocery store in the 5500 block of W. 159th Street, and an exchange of gunfire with Oak Forest police officers ensued.
Wilson and an Oak Forest police officer were wounded. Paramedics rushed both individuals to a nearby hospital.
Police said Wilson died from her injuries. The police officer remains in serious but stable condition, authorities added.
Jackie Human shops at the Oak Forest-area Food 4 Less every Sunday. Human told WGN News she and her husband were at the grocery store when yelling caught her attention.
“The yelling escalated even more and then I just heard gunfire,” Human said. “Just sounded like someone emptied a magazine, just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom…”
Human said she and several others ran to the stock room for cover. Police helped escort the group from the building when the shooting ceased.
“There was, what I believed to be, an officer wounded on the ground in the produce area,” Human said.
The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating and says the officers initially tried to take Wilson into custody for a mental health evaluation but she fled. It’s unclear if that was before or after the crash Josh Graham witnessed.
“A car pulled out of the Subway parking lot and t-boned her and the lady got out of the car with her gun drawn, walking toward the SUV,” Graham said.
Graham said the armed woman, believed to be Wilson, then turned to his car.
“She basically looked right into our face and I was like ‘no, not today, I don’t want to be carjacked or anything like that,’ and the cops were right there with her, tasers drawn,” Graham said. “I have a 5-year-old son in the car, my wife’s in the car. I was pretty terrified.”
State Police say officers tried to negotiate with Wilson before she walked into the Food 4 Less. Investigators did not say how long she was in the store before the shots were fired.
“You can’t even go do something as routine as your Sunday grocery shopping without having to worry if you’re going to go home,” Human said.