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Ill. mall shooting leaves man in critical condition

By Mark Shuman and Tina Shah
Chicago Tribune

WEST DUNDEE, Ill. — A 19-year-old man was in critical condition after being shot in the chest Thursday night in the parking lot of a West Dundee shopping mall, a fire official said.

Two men who reportedly ran from the scene apparently were involved in the shooting just after 6:30 p.m. at Spring Hill Mall, police said.

After the shooting, the victim, whom officials did not identify, made his way into a Kohl's department store, Carpentersville Fire Capt. Larry Campbell said.

"Somehow, under his own power, he got just inside the double doors," Campbell said.

He was in the store when paramedics arrived and was alert and talking in the ambulance on the way to Sherman Hospital in Elgin, where he was rushed into surgery, Campbell said.

He remained in critical condition Thursday night with a single gunshot wound, said Chris Priester, spokeswoman for Sherman Hospital.

Immediately after the shooting, police questioned three individuals, but they were released, said Carpentersville Police Cmdr. Michael Kilbourne.

"We have no information on a motive or whether the incident was gang-related or not," Kilbourne said.

Evelyn Hernandez, an employee at the Perfume Center, a store adjacent to the Kohl's mall entrance, said she heard a young boy shouting that he saw a gun inside Kohl's and she saw him scramble.

"He ran out of Kohl's and his sisters were in here. All of a sudden I saw security and lots of police all over," Hernandez said.

Blake Sabatine, 15, of Algonquin was with friends and was shopping during their spring break

"We drove past Kohl's and it was blocked, and then we really didn't know what was going on when Barnes and Noble was blocked off [too]," Sabatine said.

Marlon Cabrera, an employee at Steve & Barry's, said he saw two mall security guards run through their store and then received a phone call that there had been a shooting and to be cautious because a gunman was on the loose.

Erika Sundheim, manager at the Steve & Barry's store west of the Kohl's, said she was "very agitated" because mall security and police were not giving mall employees much information. Sundheim said their store shares a parking lot with Kohl's.

A Kohl's department store employee declined to comment Thursday.

Despite an inch of new snow on the ground, shoppers continued coming in and out of the mall Thursday night. Shoppers near the Kohl's lot were being asked to leave by mall security. Most did not know that a shooting had taken place.

Police plan to look at security tapes, and Kilbourne urged witnesses to call police at 847-551-3481.

Mark Shuman is a freelance reporter; Tina Shah is a Tribune reporter. Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair contributed.

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