Heated words, then gunfire: 2 men charged with shooting at each other as shoppers ran for cover at Oakbrook Center mall

A total of twelve shots were fired in the gun battle as 15,000 to 20,000 people were shopping at the mall two days before Christmas.

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A family walks back to their car at the Oak Brook mall Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

It’s not clear what started the argument near Auntie Anne’s pretzel store at the Oakbrook Center mall, but it ended with both men pulling handguns and firing at each other as thousands of shoppers ran for cover just two days before Christmas.

One of the men, Tyran Williams, 32, was hit four times and collapsed to the pavement, dropping a Glock 9mm handgun, according to police. 

The other man, Steve Lane, 29, ran into the Nordstrom’s close by, tossing his Taurus 9mm handgun near the entrance, police said. He was taken into custody with the help of store security.

Four other people were wounded as Williams and Lane fired 12 shots at each other. They have since been released from hospitals. 

Tyran Williams and Steve Lane

Tyran Williams and Steve Lane

DuPage County sheriff’s office

Police say 15,000 to 20,000 people were at the mall when the shots rang out, and many of them sought shelter in stores and theaters as the mall was locked down.

The new details were released Wednesday as Williams and Lane were charged with a slew of felonies and each ordered held on $1 million bail.

“Thousands of men, women, children and families [were] present,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said after the court hearing, calling the shooting “an unconscionable degree of violence and a complete and utter disregard for the safety of the public.”

Williams has been charged with five counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Lane has been charged with one count of aggravated battery – discharge of a firearm, a Class X felony, four counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Authorities said they are not sure what the two were arguing about before they fired at each other.

Williams and someone with Lane knew each other and had had a disagreement “some time ago” over a social media post, Berlin said, but it wasn’t immediately clear if that led to the shooting. 

Police released a surveillance image of the companion after the shootout, but Berlin said there is no evidence he was one of the gunmen. Berlin said prosecutors have spoken to the man’s attorney and expect to speak with him soon. 

The two recovered guns were matched to Williams and Lane through DNA testing, with evidence showing Williams fired five times and Lane seven, Berlin said.

Cuffs on Williams’ and Lane’s jackets tested positive for gunshot residue, he added. 

Both men are from Chicago. Williams has a prior drug conviction from 2016 in Cook County that resulted in probation, while Lane has a previous misdemeanor conviction, Berlin said.

During the news conference, Dupage County Sheriff James Mendrick praised the actions of the first responders.

“We never know how something like this is going to turn out when we’re on our way,” Mendrick said. “We got a page of a mass shooting and it said everybody available please come. It was scary.”

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