Man who died in shootout with cops on Metra train killed himself

Image 1 of 2

Authorities investigate after a shooting on a Metra train late Friday in Deerfield. | Network Video Productions

DEERFIELD (Sun-Times Media Wire) - The suspect in a southwest suburban murder fatally shot himself during a confrontation with police late Friday on a Metra train in north suburban Deerfield, according to preliminary autopsy reports.

South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force officers were tracking a suspect in the fatal Evergreen Park shooting and determined he was aboard a northbound Metra train scheduled to stop at the Lake Cook station in Deerfield about 10:30 p.m. Friday, Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy, a spokesman for the task force, said.

Officers positioned themselves outside on the platform and inside the train, according to the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force, which is investigating the shooting. Deerfield police officers were also called to assist.

The plan was to arrest 32-year-old Jamal Parks of Gurnee when he got off the train, but while the train was stopped at the station, he somehow became aware he was being followed by police, a statement from the ISP Task Force said.

When police boarded the train, Parks ran to the car’s upper level, McCarthy and ISP said. Some of the officers began to evacuate the train of passengers, while other officers pursued Parks and tried to take him into custody.

Parks resisted, broke free, pulled a handgun and fired multiple rounds at officers, McCarthy said. The officers retreated to the lower level and there was an exchange of gunfire between Parks and officers, during which he was struck at least once.

Parks was taken to Highland Park Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, McCarthy said. His gun was recovered on the train.

Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted Monday by the Lake County coroner’s office “indicate Parks died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” the task force statement said. A final determination on cause of death will be made after further forensic testing.

At least 40 passengers were on Milwaukee District North Line train No. 2155 at the time of the shooting, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

While officers had begun evacuating the them when they first boarded, there were still some passengers on the train when the shooting started, McCarthy said. None were injured.

Two task force officers suffered minor injuries during the struggle and were taken to hospitals, where they were treated and released, according to McCarthy. They were not shot.

The passengers were brought to a nearby Home Depot store to stay warm while waiting for rides home, Reile said.

Inbound and outbound trains bypassed the station overnight while authorities investigated.