A man suspected in a string of dollar store robberies was shot to death by police outside a church in south suburban Harvey on Sunday afternoon.
About 2:30 p.m., Harvey police responded to an armed robbery at Family Dollar at 15901 S. Halsted St. and spotted a man running from the store with a gun in his hand, police spokesman Sean Howard said.
An officer from neighboring Phoenix then saw a person matching the suspect’s description in a parking lot near 158th and Union, according to Illinois State Police, who are investigating the officer-involved shooting.
The Phoenix officer got out of his vehicle, and shots were fired at him, State Police said. The officer returned fire.
The suspect then ran into the banquet hall of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, where about 200 people were eating dinner after Sunday services, Howard said.
The man hid in a bathroom for a few minutes before he ran out into the church parking lot, Howard said.
He encountered the Phoenix officer again, and a physical altercation took place, State Police said. A Harvey officer arrived, and during the struggle more shots were fired.
The man — identified by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as 45-year-old Harvey resident Ronell Wade — was shot by an officer and pronounced dead at the scene, State Police said.
According to Harvey police, the suspect had pointed a gun at a crowd of officers and residents in the parking lot, and fired multiple rounds before he was fatally shot, Howard said.
No one else was injured. A gun, about $100 and Mace were recovered from the scene, officials said. Police suspect the man may have robbed the same Family Dollar two weeks ago and a Dollar General last Sunday, Howard said.
Howard said multiple south suburbs have reported dollar store robberies in recent weeks. Authorities in those areas were asked to come to the scene Sunday to see whether the suspect was also involved in their incidents.
The ISP’s Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the shooting.