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Shooter still at-large; quiet town shaken by slayings

  • Story Highlights
  • Flags will be lowered in Tinley Park for 5 days -- one for each victim
  • AP: Only one murder was reported in the town between 1999 and 2006
  • Police say women were found shot in back room of Lane Bryant store Saturday
  • Lane Bryant offers $50,000 for info leading to arrest and conviction of fugitive shooter
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Police continue to search for a gunman who shot and killed five women Saturday morning at a suburban Chicago strip mall, a Tinley Park police spokesman said.

Police are saying the man's motive was robbery.

About 50 area police officers are involved in the search for the man and the weapon, Sgt. T.J. Grady said Sunday.

The town that had only one reported murder between 1999 and 2006 is taking the horrific incident particularly hard, The Associated Press reported.

Calling the killings a "sad commentary on our society," Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki announced that flags at the city's east property would remain lowered for the next five days -- one for each victim.

The women were found shot in a back room of a Lane Bryant store. Police identified them Sunday as: Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor, Illinois; Sarah T. Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest, Illinois; Carrie H. Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort, Illinois; Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet, Illinois; and Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Indiana.

The Will County coroner determined each died from gunshot wounds, Tinley Park Police Chief Mike O'Connell said.

"Our emotions are raw. And we are still in shock," Szafranski's family said in a statement, according to AP. "Sarah was loved by all who knew her and we are counting on that love to sustain us while we mourn."

Chiuso was a social worker at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where she graduated in 1993, the AP reported.

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"Carrie was deeply loved by faculty and staff," school spokesman Dave Thieman said in a statement. "She had a real touch with students. The entire H-F family is deeply saddened."

Cindy Sorenson brought red roses to Lane Bryant on Sunday. She didn't know the victims but is a store manager at a nearby mall in Tinley Park. She said she couldn't stop thinking about the women who lost their lives, the AP reported.

"Your job is your home," 34-year-old Sorenson said, a tear rolling down her cheek. "You spend so much time in a store and you never think anything like this will happen."

The parent company of Lane Bryant, Charming Shoppes, Inc., said in a statement that the five women were the store manager and four customers.

The company said its Chicago-area Lane Bryant stores would remain closed Sunday, "in mourning of lives lost."

O'Connell said the company was offering a $50,000 reward for information "leading to the arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible."

Cook County Crimestoppers is also offering a $1,000 reward, he said.

Grady said Saturday it was unclear whether the gunman took any money. He also said the 911 call reporting the shooting came in at 10:44 a.m.

Police have not said what type of gun was used, and Grady said Sunday he did not know how many shots were fired.

A witness who saw the gunman leave the front of the store described him as an African-American man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 230 and 260 pounds, Grady said. He was wearing a waist-length black winter coat, a black cap and dark jeans. Video Watch a description of the alleged shooter »

Authorities believe there was only one offender, Grady said.

Police appealed to the public for help, saying anyone with information could contact police at (708) 444-5394.


Authorities were downloading surveillance video from businesses within a mile and a half of the Lane Bryant store, Grady said. O'Connell said the Lane Bryant store did not have surveillance cameras.

Tinley Park is about 28 miles southwest of Chicago and has about 57,000 residents, according to the city's Web site. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Journalist Bill Kirkos contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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