'This shouldn't have happened': Community mourns murdered family members in Oak Forest
OAK FOREST, Ill. - Hundreds of community members came together Monday night for a vigil honoring a family killed in Oak Forest last week.
On Friday, police responded to the 5500 block of Ann Marie Lane for reports of screaming and gunshots. The domestic disturbance escalated into a barricade situation, leaving four people dead.
Police say Lupe Gomez, 43, was killed outside of her home along with two of her children – Briana Rodriguez, 22, and Emilio Rodriguez, 20.
Two of the victims were found in the driveway of the home, while the third victim was found in the street.
There, flowers and stuffed animals have now been placed in their memories.
Investigators say after those fatal gunshots rang out, the suspect – 44-year-old Carlos Gomez – re-entered the family's home, barricaded himself inside, and set the home on fire. After the fire was extinguished, emergency personnel found Gomez dead inside.
The couple's two youngest daughters, who are juveniles, made it out of the home prior to the fire starting and survived.
"They are just going to need all the support they can get, I mean, I can’t imagine, I just can’t. I just get emotional thinking about it," said Helen Gierut, who attended Monday evening’s vigil.
The community is now rallying around relatives of those killed, and around the two children who survived.
"Just to see this today shows what this community is all about," said Pastor Ray Bady of Valley Kingdom Ministries International.
At the vigil, relatives described Lupe Gomez as a loving and supportive mom.
"She was a wonderful person and this shouldn't have happened. And Briana and Emilio were such kind and gentle souls," one family member said.
Those who knew Briana say she had an infectious smile.
"She always put the needs of others ahead of her own, helping raising her two younger siblings and cousins," said one relative.
Emilio, relatives said, loved movies and video games.
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"George, their father, wants them to be at peace now," said a family member. "As we reflect on the brief lives of these young people, let's not dwell on how they spent their last day, but focus on how they will forever live in all of our hearts."
Members of Lupe's family say they are now working to increase domestic violence awareness.
A GoFundMe account has been started to help cover the cost of Lupe’s funeral.
Oak Forest police have not yet released any new details pertaining to this investigation.