Brad Weert often saw a family walk together around the Oak Forest neighborhood where he has lived for almost three decades.
On Friday morning, at least four members of the family were dead after gunfire erupted during a house fire. A person barricaded themselves in the home.
“You hear it in the news and you just hope that one day it doesn’t come to your neighborhood,” Weert, 57, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
About 6:35 a.m. police responded to a domestic call in the 5500 block of Ann Marie Lane and found two people shot in the driveway and a third shot in the roadway south of the home, according to Oak Forest police.
All three died of their injuries, police said. Their names haven’t been released.
Police say a child was released from the home shortly before the fire started.
After the fire was extinguished, police say they found a fourth person who died, who was believed to be the suspect. It was unclear how he died.
Anyone living in the area of the home was initially told to shelter in place.As of 10 a.m., officials said there was no longer a threat to the community.
Neighbors stood outside watching as police and fire officials continued to investigate. A woman could be heard wailing as she was ushered farther away from the burnt home.
“[The neighborhood] is so quiet,” said Sirena Velazquez, 30. “The only thing exciting that goes on in this street are the football or baseball games.”
“It’s scary,” added Velazquez, who has lived in the neighborhood for over five years. “I have three little ones. … I don’t want anything happening to them.”
Weert said he heard “three pops” from inside his house Friday morning and came outside to find “flames going as many as 10 feet above the roofline.”
He said he’s known the family for over a decade and helped them during a severe rainstorm after they first moved in.
He described a man who lived in the house as “an ex-Marine who mostly kept to himself.”
“You don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors,” Weert said. “We all have to realize when we need help.”
Authorities encourage anyone with information to contact Detective Sgt. Ryan Burnett at 708-687-1376 or [email protected].