A suspect in the rape and armed robbery of several woman in River Forest accidentally shot himself in the head during a police chase Monday night in Oak Park. The suspect died several hours later.

According to River Forest police, Fabian Patillo, 21, entered a back yard of a home in the 7200 block of Iowa and confronted five women there. After robbing one of the women, Patillo ordered them all to remove their clothes, then sexually assaulted two of them.

When the second victim began fighting back, Patillo ran off.

A description of the suspect was broadcast on the Oak Park and Forest Park police radio bands, and a Forest Park officer soon after spotted a man matching Patillo’s description entering the Marion Street Green Line elevated station at North Boulevard.

Patillo fled south bound, and a citizen told Oak Park police that a man matching Patillo’s description had entered Mills Park.

Joined by Forest Park and River Forest cops, Oak Park police sealed off the park and began a slow, careful search of the dark grounds.

“When you’re searching a park in the dark of the night for a guy with a gun, you’re going to be very slow and cautious,” said Oak Park Deputy Chief Bob Scianna. 

However, for all their efforts, the 5 foot 5 inch, 150 pound Patillo might have slipped through were it not for the instincts of off duty Oak Park detective Sgt. Juan Paladines. Paladines, who was driving in the area in his personal car, turned on his police radio when he heard the commotion. He then parked near Home Avenue at Washington Boulevard and waited. Within a minute Paladines spotted Patillo crouching behind a garbage can. When Patillo started moving south bound on Home, Paladines exited his car and followed him, radioing his position and asking for assistance. 

Rookie Oak Park officer Stephen Struska was the first to arrive on the scene, and joined Paladines in the foot pursuit in the 400 block of Home.

Struska passed Paladines, and was about to reach out and grab Patillo, Scianna said, when Patillo pulled a hand gun. He attempted to point it over his shoulder and shoot Struska. Unfortunately for Patillo, he fired too soon, and shot himself in the side of the head.

“He pulled the trigger before he cleared his head,” said Scianna.

Patillo, of the 800 block of North Keeler Avenue in Chicago, was taken to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, where he lingered on life support before dying at 4 a.m.

A 9 millimeter hand gun was recovered at the scene. At the hospital, police also recovered items from Patillo’s pockets that had been taken in the River Forest robberies.

Scianna, who noted that Patillo would have been charged with the attempted murder of Struska had he not died, stressed that Patillo was a dangerous felon.

“He had a very violent criminal history,” said Scianna.

Patillo had convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a fire arm and drugs. He was paroled April 25 from the Sheridan Correctional Center.

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