What started off as an ordinary and blissful evening at the Orland Park Mall turned into an evening of utter chaos and disorder at approximately 6:45 p.m as an unnamed gun toting madman stormed through mall grounds aiming his weapon at two other unnamed civilians and shot them down in cold blood in front of a crowd of confused and terrified shoppers. In response, people began scrambling around in a state of disarray trying to shield themselves and their loved ones from harm’s way. According to the police and WGN 9 news report, the perpetrator was described as a staggering six foot tall, African American male dressed in all dark clothing and is accused of firing the fatal rounds that cut the life of a nineteen year old male short. The second victim, according to WGN 9, only suffered a flesh wound and was transported to the hospital for immediate care. Police claim the second victim was not acquainted with the gunman nor the first victim. The plot thickened as it was later revealed by Orland police that the dead victim was familiar with the shooter and was the “intended target” according to WGN 9 News. By eight o’clock p.m, the police did a thorough search throughout the entire mall to apprehend the shooter who unfortunately escaped before the police arrived.
The suspect apprehended was identified as twenty-year old Jakharr Williams, a University Park. Williams had prior convictions stemming from weapons charge; He is currently being held without bond and is due in court by February twentieth. Unfortunately this tragedy hits home for students at Governors State University since the shooter was a local University Park resident. In the wake of the event, I had the opportunity to sit down and get the opinion of Governor State’s most trusted head of campus security Chief J. McGee on how his team responded to the crisis down at the Orland shopping center. According to Chief McGee, his team got word from the Orland Police Department of an active shooter roaming the halls of Orland Square Mall and that a couple people had been gunned down. “Security as GSU was alerted to keep an eye out for a description of the suspect and the make and model of the car vehicle he was driving.” Chief McGee quickly assured me that universities and school campuses have been doing better in cracking down on unstable students unleashing death threats to the schools. As for GSU, security and counselors keep a watchful eye over any suspected death threats or students with suicidal tendencies and that are overwhelmed with the pressures of classwork. GSU makes sure said troubled person is getting the necessary help and outside counseling to teach them better coping mechanisms because the mental well-being and safety of the students is of outmost importance to the staff at Governors State University.
I would like to thank Chief J. McGee for briefly sitting down to talk to me about his stance on the epidemic of mass shootings in America and the that can be taken to prevent tragedies like the Orland Mall shooting from escalating anymore than it already has in this country. I would like to briefly extend my condolences to the families of the victims who were impacted by the actions of this perpetrator, and may they continue to come together and find peace.