By Kathleen Foody And Todd Richmond, The Associated Press on January 22, 2024.
CHICAGO (AP) – A man suspected of shooting and killing eight people in suburban Chicago is believed to have fatally shot himself after a confrontation with Texas law enforcement officials, police said late Monday.
Police in Joliet said on Facebook that at about 8:30 p.m. central time 23-year-old Romeo Nance was located by US Marshals near Natalia, Texas, and that after a confrontation Nance shot himself.
Nance is suspected of shooting and killing eight people at three locations in the Chicago suburbs, sparking a search that left neighbors on edge earlier Monday as police said he was still on the loose.
Police in Will County in Illinois and the city of Joliet previously said they did not know of a motive for the killings, but said Nance knew the victims. The FBI’s fugitive task force had been assisting local police in the search for the suspect, Joliet Police Chief William Evans said.
The victims were found Sunday and Monday at three separate residences, authorities told reporters earlier Monday evening, several hours after warning on social media that Nance should be considered “armed and dangerous.”
One of the people killed was found Sunday in a home in Will County. Seven others were found Monday at two homes on the same block in Joliet, located about about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) northwest of the scene police discovered first.
Authorities said they also believe another shooting in Joliet that wounded a man on Sunday is connected to the string of violence but would not discuss their evidence.
“I’ve been a policeman 29 years and this is probably the worst crime scene I’ve ever been associated with,” Evans said during a news conference outside the Joliet homes Monday evening.
Will County Chief Deputy Dan Jungles said during the news conference before Nance was killed that deputies had been staking out one of the houses since Sunday evening in case Nance, the suspect in the first fatal shooting they discovered, returned to them. Nance’s last known address was one of the homes, police said.
When no one showed, deputies finally went to the door of one of the houses. No one answered so they crossed the street to the other house, which they knew was linked to the first house and found the first bodies. Five bodies were found in one house and two bodies were found in the other.
Jungles said he didn’t have any indication yet of how long the people in the houses had been dead. He said that autopsies are pending.
Evans said the victims found Monday in the houses were family members. Asked if the victims were members of the suspect’s family, Jungles said he couldn’t comment except to say that the suspect knew them.
Teresa Smart lives about a block away from where seven of the victims were found and had said she worries she and her family won’t be able to sleep Monday night.
“This is way too close to home,” she said, adding that police cars were blocking streets throughout the neighborhood.
“I keep looking out the window and double checking my doors,” she said. “It’s super scary.”
Joliet Police said in a Facebook post earlier on Monday afternoon that they were investigating “multiple” people found dead and shared Nance’s photo and images of a vehicle. Authorities identified the vehicle as a red Toyota Camry.
Earlier Monday, the Will County Sheriff’s Office shared images of the same car via Facebook and said it had been seen at the scenes of two separate shootings Sunday afternoon.
___ This story has been corrected to show that Joliet is a city and not a county. ___ Richmond reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press reporter Claire Savage and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.