A shooting at a Chicago area Kohl’s led police on a wild chase during the traditional Black Friday was on Thursday.
The incident took place at the Romeoville location, after store management alerted police about possible shoplifters in the building as shoppers flocked to get the best deals of the early Black Friday.
Unlike other years, when Black Friday actually starts on the dawn hours of the day after Thanksgiving, 2013 had stores opening on Thursday evening to make the most of the reduced number of days leading up to Christmas.
Police say two men have been charged in connection with the alleged shoplifting incident that resulted in the Kohl’s shooting. A third individual is hospitalized.
A police officer shot a man and another officer was injured as they tried to stop the individual from taking merchandise without paying.
Authorities say the received the call from Kohl’s at about 10 pm and, when they arrived, saw one of the men running from the store.
Police chased the man into the parking lot, but he got into a vehicle and fled the scene.
When the officer giving chase to the man attempted to stop him, the man closed the car door on the officer’s arm. He was dragged by the vehicle for several feet.
Police says a backup officer arrived at the scene and ordered the individual to stop, but when he didn’t comply was forced to fire three to four shots in the Kohl’s parking lot.
The individual was shot in the shoulder area and at that time the car finally came to a stop.
Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said in a statement:
“We, then, were able to arrest the driver and the passenger and arrested the third subject who was still inside the store.” Felony charges have been filed against the alleged shoplifters according to police.
“Definitely not something I expected tonight. (I was) just doing some light shopping, trying to get in the Black Friday spirit, buy a few things. A little shaken up. Not bad or anything. I was within 5 feet of everything happening. It was very surreal,” witness Phil Koster said, according to the local ABC station.
The men responsible for the Kohl’s shooting have been identified as driver Charles Hinch, 52, passenger Robert Russell, 51, and Gerald Chamberlain, 28.
Kohl’s issued the following statement:
“A police investigation is under way into this matter. We are cooperating with the authorities leading the investigation and are referring all media inquiries to police.”
The Kohl’s shooting did not close the store down for their first day of Black Friday, and no other injuries were reported by police.