Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
User Panel

Site Notices
Posted: 4/23/2001 12:26:16 PM EDT
SKS assault rifle, a model similar to an AK-47Police take no chances near school
By Lee Filasand Dave Orrick Daily Herald Staff Writers
Posted on April 20, 2001
Hawthorn school parents looked on in fear as dozens of police officers carrying assault weapons made their way through the adjacent New Century Town subdivision in Vernon Hills late Thursday afternoon.

The police force was in response to reports that a street light on Hawthorn Parkway across from the middle and elementary schools had been shot out at 4 a.m. by what police say was an SKS assault rifle, a model similar to an AK-47.

Jason L. Via, 25, 307 Angela Court, and Keith J. Heery, 25, 928 Monroe Court were arrested by Vernon Hills police. They both face charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, criminal damage to property and reckless conduct in connection with the shooting, in which no one was injured.

Police began staking out Heery's Monroe Court townhouse near the school, where they believed a third person involved in the incident was inside.

At 4:05 p.m., after obtaining a warrant, police went into the townhouse. No one was there, but the gun, as well as two other rifles, a shotgun and three handguns, were found, said Kim Christenson, Vernon Hills police spokesman.

Christenson said the guns were "legally possessed" and no additional weapons charges were expected.

Two men believed to be present at the shooting were being sought for questioning Thursday evening, but police said they are not considered suspects.

Although nothing happened on school grounds, school and police officials took extra security measures around 2:30 p.m. when the day ended at both Hawthorn Middle School and neighboring Hawthorn Elementary North.

Parents were asked to pick up children who normally walk home, while students riding buses were staged at various areas, said Hawthorn Elementary District 73 Superintendent Youssef Yomtoob.

"The safety of our kids was No. 1," Yomtoob said. "No one was in danger. I just don't take anything (like this) too lightly."

However, parents looking to pick up their children after 3 p.m. were forced to wait as the heavily armed Northern Illinois Police Alarm System SWAT team broke entered the townhouse.

The team was backed up by an armored personnel carrier and camouflaged snipers on the roof of the elementary school and in the berm of the school parking lot.

Hawthorn Parkway was shut down during rush hour by police for the hourlong stakeout of the home.

Link Posted: 4/23/2001 12:26:53 PM EDT
Christensen acknowledged the specter of the anniversary of Columbine High School shooting, which occurred two years ago today, was at the forefront of officials' minds prior to the assault.

"There were a lot of things taken into account, including the proximity to the school," he said. "Although we had no reason to believe that there was anyone inside, we didn't want to take any chances."

Christenson said shots were heard by police officers and neighbors at roughly 4 a.m.

"Officers and neighbors heard what sounded like three gunshots," Christenson said. "By looking at the damage to the light, we believe the shots came from the building."

Via surrendered to police shortly before 3 p.m., Christenson said. Heery was taken into custody during a traffic stop shortly afterward.

Despite the precautions taken by school officials, some parents picking up students were upset they were not kept completely informed.

"As far as information, we've been left in the dark," said Dell Bliss, a Libertyville father of two middle school children. "I found out by my wife when she got home and realized the kids weren't home."

Yomtoob said the school district notified as many parents as possible Thursday, although most students were kept in the dark about the scene across the street.

"We have about 1,200 kids and we weren't able to call (every parent)," he said. "I am surprised at the negative reactions, because I received mostly positive reactions. The parents were very appreciative of what we did. I wish I had more facts."

Yomtoob plans to meet with police to see if school officials could be kept in the loop better should the same situation arise.

"It was handled very well," said Pam Lutter, a music teacher at the middle school. "It was very calm. We just conducted classes normally."

Via and Heery remained in police custody Thursday night and face a bond hearing today.

Shots: Safety of children was first, school official says
Link Posted: 4/23/2001 12:34:57 PM EDT
SKS assault rifle, a model SUPERIOR to an AK47..I guess if it was a wal-mart rifle in .30-06 it wouldn't have been such a big deal huh?
Link Posted: 4/23/2001 12:55:12 PM EDT
Nah, the Wal-Mart .30-06 would have been turned into a fully automatic belt fed bolt action sniper rifle designed specifically to be fired from the hip.

Now a question for you.  Does the labotomy come before, or immediately after graduation from a journalism program?   [chainsawkill]
Link Posted: 4/23/2001 1:28:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/23/2001 1:52:23 PM EDT
If some idiot was stupid enough to shoot out a streetlight in a residential tract, I hope he gets completely screwed and loses all right to ever own another gun.  We don't need stupid antics like that making us all look bad.
Link Posted: 4/23/2001 6:02:39 PM EDT
The team was backed up by an armored personnel carrier and camouflaged snipers on the roof of the elementary school and in the berm of the school parking lot.

View Quote

What a grossly irresponsible over-reaction from a bunch of fools. How fortunate it is these stupid bastards didnt shoot & kill innocent people. I can just see it now, some commando shoots a kid holding a saxophone and says "I thought he had a weapon". I'm surprised they didnt drive the APC through a wall and gas everyone before burning it to the ground.
Close Join Our Mail List to Stay Up To Date! Win a FREE Membership!

Sign up for the ARFCOM weekly newsletter and be entered to win a free ARFCOM membership. One new winner* is announced every week!

You will receive an email every Friday morning featuring the latest chatter from the hottest topics, breaking news surrounding legislation, as well as exclusive deals only available to ARFCOM email subscribers.

By signing up you agree to our User Agreement. *Must have a registered ARFCOM account to win.
Top Top