Ill. gunman kills himself trying to shoot cop

By Eric Herman, Contributing: Mark J. Konkol, Pioneer Press
The Chicago Sun-Times
Copyright 2006 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
On a quiet summer evening in suburban River Forest, five women sat in a leafy backyard for a meeting of their book club.

The yard seemed perfect for literary chat- secluded, surrounded by lush vegetation and bordered by a picket fence.

Shortly before 10 p.m., a man six weeks out of prison entered the yard.

He pulled a 9-millimeter handgun on the women and, according to the River Forest police, "announced a robbery."

After robbing one of the women, he ordered them to strip and sexually assaulted two of them, police said.

The assailant fled when one of the victims fought back, setting off a chase that had a surreal ending:

The suspect, Fabian Patillo of the 800 block of N. Keeler in Chicago, accidentally shot himself in the head while trying to shoot an Oak Park police officer who was pursuing him.

"He pulled the trigger before the barrel cleared his shoulder," said Oak Park Police Deputy Chief Robert Scianna.

Patillo, 21, died at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood Tuesday morning, police said.

None of the women was hospitalized Tuesday.

He Walked In With A Gun
According to police, Patillo broke into the backyard on Iowa Street in the eastern area of River Forest shortly before 9:52 p.m. Monday.

A relative of a woman who lives at the address confirmed the women were gathered there for a book club meeting.

"They were just talking back there, and he just walked into the yard with a gun," said Deputy Chief Kendra Sullivan of the River Forest Police Department.

Police broadcast a description of Patillo to neighboring police departments.

A Forest Park officer saw a man matching his description entering the CTA's Green line L station at 1100 North Blvd. Patillo then ran south, and a witness spotted him going into Mills Park, which is in Oak Park.

Off-duty Oak Park detective Juan Paladines heard broadcasts about the chase on his police radio. Playing a hunch, he drove to Washington Boulevard, assuming Patillo would leave the park from there, said Oak Park spokesman David Powers.

Paladines then spotted Patillo behind some garbage cans, Scianna said.

"Paladines radios for backup and the guy gets up and decides to keep moving," Scianna said.

Several officers responded, but rookie Oak Park Officer Stephen Struska was the closest to Paladines.

Attempted To Shoot Officer
Paladines got out of his car and followed Patillo, identifying himself as a police officer. When Patillo ran down Home Avenue, Paladines and Struska ran after him.

"Struska was the guy that caught up to him," a police source said.

As Struska closed in, Patillo pulled the gun with his right hand. He attempted to shoot Struska over his shoulder, but shot himself instead, according to Scianna.

Patillo had just served nine months in Sheridan Correctional Center for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was paroled on April 25.

"It's shocking," said Nina Maciag, who lives three blocks down on Iowa Street. "I'm certainly not going to leave my doors open anymore."

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