Alleged gunman arrested in Austin Boulevard shootings

Chicago man taken into custody by federal agents

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A suspect was arrested in connection with the April 2 shooting behind a 22-unit building at 464 N. Austin Blvd. in Oak Park, a police statement said.

Kelsey Jones, 37, was taken into custody at his Chicago home Saturday with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Jones, who is facing federal charges, is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago pending further proceedings.

Police did not link Jones to the earlier shooting at the same address. On  March 27, a 22-year-old Chicago man was injured after being shot through the door of his relative's apartment.

In the April 2 incident, two brothers, ages 36 and 37 were allegedly shot by Jones as they parked their vehicle in the lot behind the Oak Park apartment building at about 9 p.m. One brother was a tenant in the building, but has since left, said property owner Dan Vollman. Neither victim suffered life-threatening wounds, police said.

Meanwhile, Vollman said tenants linked to the shootings at his building have moved out. Vollman, whose offices are around the corner at 52 Chicago Ave., said the shootings have flustered his remaining tenants.

"It's upsetting for everybody," Vollman said. "It's upsetting for me. I live in Oak Park and I'm around these buildings all the time."

Vollman, who owns buildings in both Oak Park and Chicago, said he had been working to renovate the building recently and had not noticed any unusual activity. "It's been pretty quiet there," he said.

Vollman said the grandson of one tenant was the victim of the first shooting, when two men came to the apartment door and demanded to enter around midnight March 27. They fired three shots through the door, injuring the 22-year-old Chicago man.

Vollman said the grandson had shown up in the past and was told to leave the building after trouble developed.

"He was not a resident and not supposed to be staying there," said Vollman, who added that the grandmother had moved out "because she didn't feel safe [in the unit.]"

The 36-year-old tenant who was sitting in a car in the rear parking lot of the apartment building with his 37-year-old brother when they were shot on April 2 has also left, Vollman said.

The Oak Park village board moved last fall to address problem tenants and buildings developing a bad reputation. The board approved an ordinance to implement a Crime Free Housing Program, which allows landlords to add a clause to leases warning tenants they can be evicted following evidence of criminal activity. The program, which started in Arizona, has been around for decades and has been used in neighboring Forest Park for many years.

Vollman said he already runs a criminal background check on any potential tenant who applies to live in his building and doesn't rent to anyone with a felony conviction.

"If someone has a felony, they're not going to get an apartment," Vollman said.

Although he had not used any of the crime free leases, he said he liked the idea.

"It's a tool to enforce the 10-day warning for disturbances," Vollman said. "Once there's [documented] criminal activity, then there's no question: You gotta go. And the law is on [the landlord's] side, which is a very good thing."

After the shootings, Vollman said he spoke to the other tenants about not keeping quiet if they think criminal activity is taking place in the building.

"Many of them are long-term tenants I've known for years," Vollman said. "They trust the fact that I'm going to do whatever it takes to get the problem solved.

"But I told them, 'You know more than I'll ever know [about goings on in the building]. You need to get the information to me.'"

Vollman said he thought some of the tenants preferred to mind their own business, and some might fear retribution if they reported misdeeds of their neighbors.

"What's happening right now isn't working," he said.

CONTACT: jlotus@forestparkreview.com

Reader Comments

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joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 12th, 2014 3:14 PM

color me shocked! I like that authorities got the feds involved. IMO it's something that the local authorities should be doing any time they run across either a filed off serial, a weapon that was illegally converted to automatic fire or someone who was obviously a straw buyer/seller. (not that either of these were necessarily the case in this crime). Combine the stiffer federal penalties with making offenders serve time at least a 6 hour drive away from chicago and we might have something.

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