OAK BROOK - For the first time since gunfire erupted at Oakbrook Center last month, 911 audio from shoppers and employees who were caught in the crossfire has been released.
The shooting took place on one of the busiest shopping days of the year – Thursday, Dec. 23, just two days before Christmas – and left five people injured. Mall security estimated about 15,000 to 20,000 people were there at the time of this incident.
"Somebody’s shooting the mall up," one 911 caller said.
Holiday cheer soon turned into chaos when, according to police, a total of 12 shots were fired. Now 911 audio has painted a clearer picture of the terror that unfolded.
One caller, who described being stuck in the spa at Nordstrom asked a dispatcher: "Are the police here, though? Are they on their way?" "They’re coming," the 911 dispatcher said.
Just before 6 p.m. that evening, police said two men got into an argument near Ann Taylor and Auntie Anne’s – not far from Nordstrom – and began shooting at each other.
"How long did you see the gunman? How long ago?" asked one dispatcher. "We don’t know. Everyone just started coming in and running. Maybe about three minutes ago," said a Nordstrom employee.
Three innocent female bystanders were shot, and one other woman was injured running away. One of the shooters was also shot; he was hit four times. Everyone survived.
During the investigation, stores went on lockdown and many shoppers were stuck taking cover for several hours.
"Get anyone you can and try and get them to a safe, low location away from any windows and then lock down the store," one dispatcher instructed a Nordstrom employee.
"They got us in the back of the store," another 911 caller said.
"Ok, yeah, do whatever you have to do to keep yourself safe. If you feel like hiding, staying in shelter would be best, or if you feel like you can get out of there, I need you to judge whatever you think is best for you," the dispatcher said.
Two men accused in the shooting are now behind bars. They are 29-year-old Steven Lane and 32-year-old Tyran Williams.
Late last month, bond was set at $1 million each. Oak Brook police said they are waiting to hear from the grand jury on a hearing date.
Police also said they did locate a third suspect who fled the scene the night of the shooting. He was brought in for questioning, but is not facing charges at this time.