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Jakharr Williams
Jakharr Williams
A heavy police presence could be seen the evening of Jan. 21 outside of Orland Square, following a shooting that took the life of an 18-year-old from Richton Park and injured one other person inside of the mall. Photo by Mark Korosa/22nd Century Media
A heavy police presence could be seen the evening of Jan. 21 outside of Orland Square, following a shooting that took the life of an 18-year-old from Richton Park and injured one other person inside of the mall. Photo by Mark Korosa/22nd Century Media
A heavy police presence could be seen the evening of Jan. 21 outside of Orland Square, following a shooting that took the life of an 18-year-old from Richton Park and injured one other person inside of the mall. Photo by Mark Korosa/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the scene outside of Orland Square Jan. 21 following a shooting that took one life and injured a bystander. Photo by Rochelle McAuliffe/22nd Century Media
Deputy Chief Joseph Mitchell talks to press Jan. 21 outside of Orland Square, following a shooting. Photo by Rochelle McAuliffe/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the scene outside of Orland Square Jan. 21 following a shooting that took one life and injured a bystander. Photo by Rochelle McAuliffe/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the scene outside of Orland Square Jan. 21 following a shooting that took one life and injured a bystander. Photo by Rochelle McAuliffe/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the scene outside of Orland Square Jan. 21 following a shooting that took one life and injured a bystander. Photo by Joe Coughlin/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the scene outside of Orland Square Jan. 21 following a shooting that took one life and injured a bystander. Photo by Joe Coughlin/22nd Century Media
Bill Jones, Editor
7:43 pm CST January 21, 2019

Update 7

Jakharr Williams, who Orland Park Police have named as their suspect in the Jan. 21 shooting death of 18-year-old Javon Britten at Orland Square, will not be leaving police custody while he awaits his next hearing.

Judge John J. Mahoney around 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, denied bond to Williams during a hearing at the Cook County Courthouse for the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview, after the facts of the case were presented to the judge.

Williams, 19, of 696 Madison Lane in University Park, is to be held in custody until his next court date, scheduled for Feb. 8. And the Orland Park Police investigation into the shooting continues, according to an update issued the late afternoon of Jan. 25 by the department.

Earlier in the day, Williams was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, a Class 2 felony as he was on parole, by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. At this time, it is the only charge that has been filed against him.

Orland Park Police Cmdr. Tony Farrell confirmed by email Saturday, Jan. 26, that despite the single charge filed at this time, Williams is still the suspect in the shooting, and police are continuing "with some tasks that need to be completed" in relation to the investigation.

"Things are progressing satisfactorily at this time with the State's Attorneys Office," he wrote.

He declined to comment further on the weapon that reportedly led to the charge against Williams.

"I cannot speak about any specific physical evidence at this time, as this is an ongoing murder investigation," he said.

Update 6

Jakharr Williams, the suspect in the shooting death of 18-year-old Javon Britten on Jan. 21 at Orland Square, as of the morning of Friday, Jan. 25, has been charged as a convicted felon in possession of a weapon. And Orland Park Police announced their investigation into the shooting continues.

Williams, 19, of 696 Madison Lane in University Park, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, a Class 2 felony, as he was on parole, according to a press release issued Jan. 25 by the Orland Park Police Department.

Williams reportedly was taken into custody the evening of Jan. 23 in Matteson by the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, working with Orland Park investigators.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and at the time of the release only approved the one charge against Williams.

Williams was to be transported the afternoon of Jan. 25 to the Cook County Courthouse for the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview for a bond hearing.

Orland Park Police Cmdr. Tony Farrell said the department was going to refrain from commenting further on the case until after the bond hearing.

A call to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office was not immediately returned.

Update 5

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy confirmed just after 7 p.m. Jan. 23 that police took Jakharr Williams, their suspect in the Jan. 21 Orland Square shooting, into custody a short time prior.

McCarthy said Williams is being brought to Orland Park, and there will be a felony review process before any charges are made against him.

Orland Park Police Cmdr. Tony Farrell added in an email to The Orland Park Prairie, “We will be working through the night to obtain charges.”

Farrell said the arrest took place around 6:15 p.m. in Matteson without incident. The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, working with Orland Park, took him into custody, Farrell explained. More information is forthcoming, he added.

Williams, 19, of 696 Madisen Lane in University Park, was identified as the suspect in the shooting death of Javon Britten, an 18-year-old from Richton Park, following interviews with witnesses and a review of video footage, according to a press release issued Jan. 22.

 

Update 4

Orland Park Police Deputy Chief Joseph Mitchell said around 3 p.m. Jan. 23 that police are still following leads and conducting an “exhaustive” investigation, but do not yet have the whereabouts of their suspect in the shooting of Javon Britten, the 18-year-old from Richton Park who was killed the evening of Jan. 21 at Orland Square.

He added that the argument between Britten the shooter leading up to the incident is thought to have stemmed from a “feud” that has continued between the two for “almost a year.”

Police are continuing to search for Jakharr Williams, 19, of 696 Madisen Lane in University Park, who they identified as their suspect following interviews with witnesses and a review of video footage, according to a press release issued Jan. 22.

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Williams should call Orland Park Police at (708) 349-4111 or email at crimetips@orlandpark.org.

In the wake of the shooting, Mitchell added that police have upped their numbers at the mall.

“We’re always there,” he said of security at the shopping center. “We’re increasing our presence.”

He stressed that in recent years the mall has seen decreases in crime, and the shooting is being viewed as an isolated incident between individuals who knew each other. He said the issue originated outside of Orland Park, and the mall just happened to be the place where the violent incident took place.

“This could have happened anywhere,” he said.

Police do not know why, specifically, the two were at Orland Square at the time of the shooting, Mitchell added.

 

Update 3

The family of Javon Britten, the 18-year-old from Richton Park who was fatally shot the evening of Jan. 21 at Oralnd Square, held a press conference Jan. 22 and repeatedly call for the alleged killer to turn himself in to police, or for his family or friends to do it for him.

Britten’s mother, Nail Hobson, said her son, a senior at Rich Central High School, had big dreams and worked whenever he could to earn money, from shoveling snow to a part-time job at Red Lobster.

“Javon was my angel,” she said. “He was wonderful.”

Britten’s cousin, Lakeisha Kizer, was the first member of the family to speak at the press conference and called for a change to rampant gun violence in the city and beyond.

“Something has to change,” she said. “This should not be the norm. This should be an exception, but it’s a norm here in this city, and it’s moving far beyond the city.”

She also asked people to think about their own children mean to them and what Britten meant to his family.

“Javon is not another kid or another black child to be swept under the rug,” she said. “His life mattered. He had a family that loves him.”

Stephanie Kizer reiterated a call that was made throughout the press conference for the shooter to turn himself in or those around him to do it.

“Surrender, so that we can have peace, and you can have peace, too,” she said.

The family prayed together to end the press conference.

Police are continuing to search for Jakharr Williams, 19, of 696 Madisen Lane in University Park, who they identified as their suspect following interviews with witnesses and a review of video footage, according to a press release issued Jan. 22.

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Williams should call Orland Park Police at (708) 349-4111 or email at crimetips@orlandpark.org.

Rich Central Principal Todd Whitaker posted a letter to students, parents and staff on Jan. 22, addressing the death. The letter notes support from a crisis response team was being made available to both staff and students in need. Parents were asked to contact the school if they think their children are having difficulty coping with the loss.

Update 2

Orland Square has reopened for business following a shooting Jan. 21, as police say they are asking for the public’s help as they continue to search for their suspect.

Javon Britten, an 18-year-old from Richton Park, was shot and killed during an altercation, and a bystander received a graze wound to the leg, according to police.

Orland Park Police Deputy Chief Joseph Mitchell in a phone interview the afternoon of Jan. 22 said “in excess of six shots” were fired inside the mall the night before, but less than 10. He added that only the two aforementioned people reported injuries from the shooting. He declined to comment further on the type of handgun used.

An autopsy from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Officer confirmed the cause of Britten’s death as multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death homicide.

A “considerable amount of people” were at the mall and evacuated following the shooting the evening of Jan. 21, but Mitchell said he did not have an exact number.

Police are continuing to search for Jakharr Williams, 19, of 696 Madisen Lane in University Park, who they identified as their suspect following interviews with witnesses and a review of video footage, according to a press release issued Jan. 22. Police said he appears to have fled outside of the mall and left the area prior to the arrival of police at the scene.

Mitchell said police deployed K9 units and had reason to believe the suspect “may have gotten into a vehicle” where the dogs lost a scent. He added that police used drones with infrared technology to search for heat signatures in the area and had reason to believe the suspect was no longer near the mall when police suggested in the late evening of Jan. 21 there remained “no immediate threat to the public,” despite an armed suspected on the loose.

Police still think the two males knew each other, but other information regarding their altercation was still just “speculation” as of 12:10 p.m. Jan. 22, Mitchell said.

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Williams should call Orland Park Police at (708) 349-4111 or email at crimetips@orlandpark.org.

Update 1

Orland Park Police have released a name and photo of their suspect in the shooting that took place Jan. 21 at Orland Square.

Police are looking for Jakharr Williams, 19, of 696 Madisen Lane in University Park, who they identified as their suspect following interviews with witnesses and a review of video footage, according to a press release issued the next morning. Police said he appears to have fled outside of the mall and left the area prior to the arrival of police at the scene.

Williams has an active parole warrant, and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to police. A manhunt continues in an effort to locate Williams.

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Williams should call Orland Park Police at (708) 349-4111 or email at crimetips@orlandpark.org.

According to Illinois inmate records, Williams was sentenced to three years for one count of Class 2 robbery in 2017 in Cook County. He was taken into custody of February of that year, an admitted to Shawnee Correctional Center that June. He was paroled on June 29, 2018.

The records additionally note he has a tattoo on his upper-right arm of three skulls, clouds and “Rose.”

 

Original Story

One person is dead, another was injured with a graze wound, and police still are actively looking for an armed suspect who fled the scene following a shooting at Orland Square.

The incident occurred around 6:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, according to Orland Park Deputy Chief Joseph Mitchell. A man described as black, around 20 years old, 6-foot-1, wearing black clothing and blue jeans, fired shots on the lower level, near the food court, striking another male, who then ran a short distance to H&M, where he was found, police said.

The shooting victim was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition and was later was pronounced dead, police said. He was identified Jan. 22 as Javon Britten, an 18-year-old from Richton Park, and pronounced dead at 7:36 p.m., according to to a case ledger from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Witnesses told police two men were involved in an altercation, and one of the men pulled out a handgun, firing it multiple times and striking the other, according to a press release issued that evening by the Orland Park Police Department.

The suspect reportedly fled eastbound on foot from the scene.

“We will use every resource available to find and arrest the individual responsible,” Mitchell said.

Numerous shell casings were found near the food court, Mitchell added.

A bystander suffered a graze wound to the leg in the incident, police confirmed. He reportedly drove himself to Amita Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange. Police said they did not know if the bystander had relationship to the suspect or victim, but it appeared he was not the intended target. He also was 19 or 20 years of age, according to police.

Mitchell said police think the shooting was an isolated incident, and the shooter and the deceased knew each other, but the investigation is ongoing.

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy urged people to stay clear of the mall, as police continue to search for an armed suspect. McCarthy said the motivation for the shooting was unknown at the time, and the incident remains an ongoing investigation.

Officers were doing a store-by-store sweep as they evacuated the mall, and detectives are reviewing security footage to learn more about the incident. Police confirmed they were using drones and K9 units as part of their search.

The Orland Park Village Hall went on lockdown in the middle of a regularly scheduled board meeting. Police also noted they are still collecting evidence, and the mall was closed as they process the scene. Police added it was unclear when the mall might reopen.

Ray Hanania, a spokesperson for Orland Fire Protection District, declined to comment on the firefighter/paramedic response at the scene, saying all press inquiries have to go through police.

Employee, parent recount situation

Yareli Valles, an employee at Guess, was ringing up a guest’s purchase when the gunfire began.
“It was crazy,” Valles said. “You just heard gunshots, and people were screaming and crying.” There were moms running with their kids. It was terrifying.”
While everyone inside the store appears to have made it safely out of the mall, Valles said the event shook her and her co-workers.
“We’re all fine, and we’re thankful that we all made it out safe,” she said. “But everybody is scared, and everyone is shaken up. Not a lot of people want to go to work tomorrow.”

Mary Beth Casarez, of Orland Hills, went to the mall to pick up her 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son who had spent the afternoon shopping. In the two-minute drive from her work to the mall, Casarez received the type of phone call every parent dreads.

“I work right down the street and was on my way to pick them up,” Casarez said. “I got a call and I heard the word ‘shooter,’ and I was in shock. I didn’t know what was going on.”

The daughter was with friends at JCPenney when the shooting began. When she heard people screaming about a gun, she ran to the nearest exit.

Her brother was downstairs at the time of the shooting. Separated from his sister, he ran into the nearby Coach store for shelter.

When Casarez and her daughter were reunited, they still had to wait for the son to be evacuated. Casarez said she was able to talk to him through a store phone, and Casarez was able to learn more information about her son’s welfare through the store manager. Still, the wait was nerve-racking.

“The waiting is unbearable,” Casarez said that evening. “I just want to wrap my arms around him.”

 

Additional reporting by Freelance Reporters Jon DePaolis and Rochelle McAuliffe, as well as Publisher Joe Coughlin.