Brickyard mall shooting suspect charged with killing wife, a mental health specialist at Cook County Jail and ‘staunch advocate’

Jennifer Hamilton worked at Cermak Health Services at Cook County Jail. She was steward of her union, SEIU Local 73, which called her an advocate for her patients and colleagues.

SHARE Brickyard mall shooting suspect charged with killing wife, a mental health specialist at Cook County Jail and ‘staunch advocate’
Jennifer Hamilton

Jennifer Hamilton

Provided/SEIU Local 73

A little more than a week after a healthcare worker took out an emergency restraining order against her husband, Cook County prosecutors say he followed her to a Northwest Side mall and shot her five times.

Jennifer Hamilton, 47, a mental health specialist at Cermak Health Services at Cook County Jail, was pronounced dead shortly after the Wednesday morning shooting at the Brickyard mall in the Montclare neighborhood.

Her husband, Alphonso Hamilton, 50, then drove to the Schiller Park Police Department and turned himself in, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court Friday.

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Alphonso Hamilton had a history of domestic violence, with three convictions for domestic assault between 2001 and 2003, Murphy said.

Jennifer Hamilton was the steward of her union, SEIU Local 73, which called her a “staunch advocate” for her patients and colleagues.

“Jennifer had a sincere passion for her work in mental health. When you spoke with her, you understood her commitment to providing the best care possible for her patients, before and throughout the pandemic,” SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer said in a statement.

“Jennifer was beloved by her coworkers in Cook County Health,” Palmer said. “And her tragic death will be felt by everyone whose lives she touched.”

Jennifer Hamilton was on a teleconference call with her doctor when she pulled into the parking lot of the couple’s home near the mall around 9:20 a.m. and saw her husband drive into the lot shortly after, Murphy said.

The couple was in the process of separating, Murphy said. On April 16, she reported a domestic incident with her husband that had occurred nearly two weeks earlier on April 3. On April 18, she was granted an emergency order of protection against him.

Jennifer Hamilton told her doctor she didn’t know why her husband was there and said she was going to drive across the street to the Brickyard mall, where she parked outside a Target store in the 6500 block of West Diversey Avenue, Murphy said.

Asked by her doctor if she wanted police called, Jennifer Hamilton said she wasn’t very worried about her husband hurting her, but asked her doctor to stay on the phone with her, Murphy said.

Alphonso then drove into the mall parking lot and pulled into a space beside Jennifer’s white Jeep Cherokee, and both got out of their cars, Murphy said.

The doctor saw Jennifer Hamilton make a sudden movement at the rear of the Jeep before opening the driver’s side door and telling her doctor to call 911, Murphy said.

As she attempted to move away, Alphonso Hamilton repeatedly shot her in the head and body before fleeing the scene in his car, Murphy said.

Five 9-mm shell casings and five unfired rounds were recovered from the parking lot when police arrived. Jennifer Hamilton was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where she died, authorities said.

Alphonso Hamilton called his mother after the shooting and she said he should turn himself in, Murphy said. Fifteen minutes later, he arrived at the police station in Schiller Park.

In custody, Alphonso Hamilton told investigators that he had shot his wife after asking if she was seeing someone else, and she said she was, Murphy said.

The gun used in the shooting was allegedly found on the floor of the backseat of his car. He was subsequently charged with first-degree murder.

Alphonso Hamilton served in the U.S. Navy for three years, was honorably discharged, and was a father to three children, though none with Jennifer Hamilton, an assistant public defender said.

Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered Alphonso Hamilton held without bail and set his next court date for May 18.

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