Melvin Toran | Illinois Department of Corrections
CHICAGO (FOX 32/Sun-Times) - The man found dead in a Park Forest home where two FBI agents were shot trying to serve an arrest warrant Tuesday morning has been identified as Melvin Toran, a 50-year-old gang member and convicted murderer on parole.
Residents say the normally quiet residential neighborhood looked and sounded like a war zone.
"Like Boom boom boom! It was really loud. Almost made my knees buckle,” said neighbor Scott Smith.
Toran is a man with a long criminal history, who the feds say was a top ranking member of the Black P-Stone Nation street gang.
"Then I heard them trying to call him to come out of the house and they shot tear gas inside the house trying to get him out,” Smith said.
Toran, who had served nearly two decades in prison on a murder conviction, apparently didn't want to go back behind bars, exchanging fire with FBI agents.
Two agents were hit and suffered minor injuries.
When the swat team broke down the door and got inside they found Toran dead on the floor. It’s not known yet whether he was killed by an FBI bullet or one of his own.
"Our evidence response team is on the scene. Experts in the field to collect evidence, process it, bring it back to the FBI,” said FBI spokesman Garrett Croon.
The US Attorney’s Office says the takedown of Toran was one of several coordinated arrests after a two year investigation dubbed "Operation Cornerstone,” targeting high-level gang members distributing large amounts of cocaine and heroin.
The feds say part of the scheme involved a South Side clothing store, where buyers would be given an item of clothing as a pretense, along with a bag of narcotics.
Prosecutors say a cooperating witness purchased more than a thousand grams of heroin from the store owner for $72K.
As for Toran, neighbors say they were unaware of his criminal past, and frequently saw him walking his pit bull around the neighborhood.
FOX 32: Were you surprised to learn a supposed high-level street gang member was living over here?"
“Yeah, that was kind of scary,” a woman said.
Court records show Toran was convicted of murder in 1984 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Toran’s criminal background also includes convictions for illegal possession of firearms and drug trafficking.
In 2008, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show.
The wounded FBI agents were treated at a local hospital and have been released. The feds say a number of other Black P-Stone gang leaders arrested Tuesday are facing indictments.
About 8:30 a.m., Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 told students not to come to school.
“We have been notified by the Park Forest Police Dept. that the situation on Rich Court has been resolved,” a statement posted on Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163’s website said.