Oak Brook police said Oakbrook Center will open as planned Christmas Eve, one day after the last-minute shopping rush was disrupted by a gunfight that injured three bystanders and one of the gunmen.
”I’ve talked with mall management and it is their desire to open (Friday),” Oak Brook police chief James Kruger said Thursday night. “The mall hours are normally 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, so obviously we’ll have a significant police presence at the mall to ensure that any shoppers and visitors are safe.”
Kruger said it appeared another gunman sought by police had fled the mall property, though officers were still searching for him.
Gunfire erupted at the mall, one of the Chicago area’s most popular, about 5:45 p.m. Thursday, and the mall was put on lockdown.
Kruger said two men apparently got into a gunfight in an outdoor corridor near the Ann Taylor and Nordstrom stores. One of the men was wounded and taken into custody and transported to a hospital, he said. The other gunman was still being sought Friday morning.
Three women who were bystanders were also hit and taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. After the shooting, 100 police officers were at the mall, he said, including SWAT teams, going store to store to look for the other shooter. Shoppers and employees took shelter in backrooms of stores as the search for suspects continued.
Kruger called the shooting a “very unfortunate incident that is just completely out of character for our area. A lot of people fled.”
The outdoor mall is located at 100 Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook.
The wounded man, in his 30s, was shot four times in his legs and lower back, Kruger said. He underwent surgery at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, police said. Also in custody was a companion of the gunman who police are still seeking.
The women who were shot, two in their 40s and one in her 20s, were also being treated at Good Samaritan. A woman in her 20s fractured her ankle trying to run away and was being treated at Elmhurst Hospital.
Police said they recovered two pistols. They hadn’t made a final determination as to how many shots were fired, but witnesses told them they heard as many as 15.
Kruger said police already had increased their presence at the shopping center after a well-publicized looting incident in recent weeks, and that an officer on duty, who heard multiple shots, was able to respond immediately.
“The police department has been taking this very seriously to make sure the mall and our community are being kept safe,” he said. “This is just a very unfortunate incident that is completely out of character for our area.”
“Tonight’s isolated incident is extremely upsetting for our shopping center community,” Lindsay Kahn, a spokeswoman for mall owner Brookfield Properties, said in a statement. “We are grateful to our partners at the Oak Brook Police Department for their diligence in leading this developing investigation.”
Brookfield Properties, part of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management, also manages and operates Water Tower Place and Northbrook Court. The company acquired Chicago-based retail giant General Growth Properties in 2018.
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