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A person of interest remains in custody in the fatal shooting at River Oaks Mall

A man remained in custody Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of a security guard at a Calumet City mall, although no charges have yet been filed, according to a city spokesman.

Police were looking for “multiple criminals” after a robbery Wednesday at the River Oaks Center that left Norman Thomas, a 57-year-old U.S. Army veteran, shot and killed.

Police said a person of interest is in custody and being questioned as of Saturday. City spokesman Sean Howard said Monday he did not know whether the man was taken into custody Saturday or Friday.

He acknowledged that police will have to release the man at some point if charges are not filed.

Thomas, of Blue Island, was working as a security guard at the Flawless Diamonds mall on the southeast corner of 159th Street and Torrance Avenue when several people walked in and fired several shots just after noon Wednesday, according to authorities.

Several Calumet City Police officers were participating in training in an empty store at the mall when the call came in and participated in a search of the mall. Police initially treated the call as an active shooter.

Thomas, of the 2300 block of 119th Street, was pronounced dead at 1:12 p.m. Wednesday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner, who ruled his death a homicide.

According to A., he participated in the operation “Storm in the desert”. a family member.

An unspecified amount of merchandise was stolen during the robbery, according to authorities.

The mall was initially ordered closed after the shooting, but the two main stores — JC Penney and Macy’s — and interior stores were open to customers Thursday. Police went to the mall and told management that “the mall is closed until further notice,” Howard said.

He said city officials told mall management that while it was good for the anchors to remain open, they needed to close the entrances inside the mall.

The mall was cleared to reopen early Friday after police completed their investigation, Howard said Monday.

“The main thing is that we didn’t want it to jeopardize the integrity of the police investigation,” he said. “After the police concluded what they needed to do, we allowed them to reopen.”

Howard said Calumet City officials want more security measures, such as additional security cameras inside the mall.

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The jewelry store is steps away from the mall’s exterior entrance, and the only available security camera footage was from the store itself, he said.

“The mayor is really concerned about it and wants to do something about it,” Howard said. “We have a number of things we have to go through.”

He said city officials are “in constant contact with mall management” about security concerns.

Messages left with mall management and ownership were not returned.

With the busy holiday shopping season just around the corner, Howard said Mayor Thaddeus Jones isn’t concerned about the mall closing affecting potential sales tax revenue for his city.

“The mayor was more concerned about the safety and security” of shoppers, Howard said. “During the holiday season, shopping malls are the target of jewelry store thefts and robberies.”



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