CALUMET CITY, Ill. — A security guard was shot Wednesday inside River Oaks Mall and later died.
Authorities responded to a report of a shots fired inside the mall, located in the 90 block of River Oaks Center Drive, at around 12:15 p.m.
57-year-old Norman Thomas, who was a security guard, was shot during “a possible robbery attempt” inside a jewelry store at the mall, a city spokesperson said. His condition was not immediately available, but at around 5:10 p.m., authorities told WGN News the security guard died Wednesday evening.
Thomas was the oldest of five and father of two daughter and a grandfather of three with another on the way.
His sister, Angelique Thomas, told WGN that he was a huge Bears fan and a former army veteran.
“He had such a big heart, a heart so big you could fit the universe,” Thomas said.
A second victim, an 81-year-old man, was located with a minor injury to the hand. It is unknown at this time if they were shot.
Glass was found broken inside the jewelry store and police said the shooting “appears to be an isolated incident.”
“All of a sudden, I looked up from my phone and all you could hear was like five or more shots,” witness Tonya Davis said. “And the guy was there shooting inside of the jewelry store. He had on a black hoodie outfit.”
More than one suspect was involved and fled in a vehicle, but police did not offer a definitive number of those involved. Police did say the jewelry cases in the store were smashed and the suspects got away with an unknown amount of merchandise.
The mall will remain closed until further notice.
Police said a training session was taking place nearby, allowing officers to get there “in seconds.”
Mall employees described Thomas as a nice guy who was always happy to do his job.
“He used to work with my father at the railroad. I think he was a police there. And just security for the jewelry store. Senseless,” George Brown said.
Anyone with information can call Calumet City police at 708-868-2500.
Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group, the owners of the mall, released the following statement.
“The safety and security of our merchants, employees, and patrons have always been our number one priority. Unfortunately, an alarming incident did occur in our mall yesterday, resulting in the death of a security guard. We are deeply saddened by the impact of the incident, and our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless act of violence. Our team is in cooperation with the Calumet City Police Department who is actively investigating the incident. As a result of the on-going investigation the mall will remain closed and is preparing to reopen tomorrow, Friday, November 18th with heightened security. As this is an active and ongoing investigation, no further information is available from our end at this time.”