After a 10-hour standoff Thursday, Chicago SWAT officers stormed a South Side home to find a man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Police said about 9 a.m., Kevin Robinson fired a dozen shots at SWAT team officers who had taken up positions outside a home in the 10300 block of South Union, prompting the officers to return fire. Robinson had been on the phone with a police hostage negotiator moments before opening fire on officers from a second-floor window.
It was the last communication officers would have with Robinson, who police said had killed three people at a home in Lawndale about 10 hours earlier.
In the hours that followed, SWAT officers blocked streets in the surrounding neighborhood for hours and warned neighbors to hide in their basements. Over a bullhorn, a hostage negotiator played a recorded message from Robinson’s mother, who waited, out of sight, with relatives. Starting around noon, police began launching canisters of tear gas into the house.
“Kevin, it’s your mother. Come outside. I love you. Please come out,” the plaintive voice of Robinson’s mother, Linda McPherson, said on a recording that played throughout the late morning and early afternoon over a police bullhorn. “Don’t bring out any weapons and put your hands up. . . . please, think about it.”
When SWAT officers kicked in the door about 1 p.m., they found Robinson dead in the same bedroom from which he had fired on police, a gun in his hand, CPD Deputy Chief Steve Georgas told reporters. Robinson had suffered an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Georgas said. It was not clear if Robinson was struck by the barrage of return fire from SWAT officers as well, Georgas said.
A Friday autopsy ruled Robinson’s death a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
On Wednesday night, police said, Robinson shot the mother of one of his children, 26-year-old Makeesha Starks; her sister, Kiara Kinard; and her stepfather Jerome T. Wright, 50, at a home in the 1500 block of West 71st Street.
Wright, of the 1500 block of West 74th Street; and Starks, who lived on the block where the shooting happened, were both shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
Kinard, of the 7700 block of South Seeley, was shot in the back and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she died at 2:37 a.m., authorities said.
Both sisters worked on the Rush University Medical Center campus, a spokesman said. Kinard was a part-time employee of the hospital, while Starks worked at the Au Bon Pain restaurant at Rush, spokesman John Pontarelli said.
“The Rush community is deeply saddened by this tragedy,” he said in a statement.
Wright worked for the Traffic Management Authority division of OEMC as a traffic control aide.
“Jerome Wright was a valued employee of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications since 2008,” a statement from the agency said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Not long after SWAT officers emerged from the house, Robinson’s sister, Kedra, huddled with family in an alley across the street. Kedra Robinson said she had rushed to the house early Thursday and had spent the day waiting with family hoping Robinson would leave the house unharmed.
Kedra Robinson said Starks had been “like a sister” to her, and that she did not know whether her brother had killed anyone. Her version of how her brother died differed starkly from the police account of the standoff. She said Kevin Robinson was on the phone with his mother, preparing to surrender, when he was shot.
“They was trying to kill him instead of trying to bring him in,” Robinson told reporters, as a woman who said she was Starks’ sister tried to shout her down.
“I’m not gonna argue with you all, y’all lost a loved one, I lost a loved one,” Robinson shouted back. “They have to have hard evidence to link anybody to any type of murder.”
Guglielmi said Robinson had fled to the South Union house, in the city’s Ferndale neighborhood, to hide out with a former girlfriend with whom he also had a child. The woman let him in, but called police after Robinson fell asleep. Officers from the 22nd District sneaked the woman and her child out of the house sometime after 3 a.m., and then called in SWAT officers.
The Independent Police Review Authority will review the case, Guglielmi said. The SWAT team was deployed more than 1,000 times in the last four years, and only four suspects
were killed, Guglielmi said.
After SWAT officers surrounded the house, negotiators tried to reach Robinson by phone and loudspeaker, Georgas said.
“We did have a short conversation with him, he did answer a phone,” he said. “That conversation did not go anywhere. It was shortly after that where he appeared at the window and fired 10 to 12 shots at our officers.”
Linda McPherson, Robinson’s mother, had arrived at the South Union house from her home in Hammond, Indiana, early Thursday morning, and spent the day waiting with police, said family spokesman Eric Russell.
Family members offered to approach the house and try to get Robinson to give up, but police refused their help. In a version of events that differed starkly from the police account of the stand off, Russell told reporters that Robinson was on the phone with her son — Russell said he did not know for sure what time — and had told her he wanted to surrender to police, when she heard gunshots and another man’s voice, Russell said.
“She unfortunately did hear her son take his last breaths,” Russell said, noting the family had hired an attorney.
“They say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Russell said. “Quite frankly, the family simply is not buying that narrative.”