Police in Joliet, Illinois warned locals to remain vigilant on Monday evening as night fell and officers continued hunting for an “armed and dangerous” man believed to have been involved with at least eight shooting deaths in the previous 48 hours.
That included seven people found dead with gunshot wounds in two homes on the same block in Joliet, police said at a press conference. They confirmed that the victims—five found in one home, and two in the other across the street—were members of the same family.
The suspect, Romeo Nance, 23, is believed to have “known” the seven victims, but further details on his relationship to the family were not immediately shared. Nance had been out on bond for another incident last year in which he shot “at a woman,” police said. He remained at large on Monday night, with police pulling “a full-court press” to find him, they added.
“I’ve been a policeman for 29 years,” Joliet police Chief Bill Evans said at the press conference. “This is probably the worst crime scene I’ve ever been associated with.”
One woman who lived in the neighborhood told CBS Chicago it was “frightening” that the crime had happened so close to her home. “This is a neighborhood—there’s a park right down the street,” she said. “It’s crazy that there’s young kids–they get off the bus right here.”
“It’s like you’re not even good in your own home,” another woman added.
Nance is believed to be driving a red Toyota Camry—the same vehicle that was spotted at the sites of two separate shooting incidents that took place on Sunday, one of them deadly.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office previously said the first incident resulted in a 28-year-old man being rushed to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. The man, a Nigerian who’d been in the United States for around three years, was later pronounced dead.
The other incident, discovered second, had taken place approximately 10 minutes prior to the 28-year-old’s shooting, the sheriff’s office said. In that case, a 42-year-old man was discovered with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the leg.
Both Sunday shootings were believed to be random, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday. The Joliet police confirmed that investigators still believed that to be the case on Monday.
Authorities warned residents who spotted the Camry or Nance to call 911 immediately, and not to approach him. Joliet police reiterated that call on Monday, noting that its rapidly evolving homicide investigation remained ongoing.
“Obviously with a crime of this magnitude, this heinous act, we are doing everything in our power to bring this individual to justice,” Evans said.