UPDATE Feb. 9, 2023: Another juvenile sought by police turns himself in with an attorney. Charges added below.
Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- It was a sunny, serene Sunday afternoon in Park Forest with temps in the low 40s. Peaceful, actually, when neighbors on Warwick Street heard the “pops” of gunfire and a barrage of bullets flew through the neighborhood.
In the end, as many as 40 rounds of ammunition were shot in a few moments and a police presence from several jurisdictions would rush to secure the scene.
One stray bullet entered a home and another sped through the bumper of an occupied car, taking out a tire, a harsh welcome-to-the-neighborhood for a woman visiting with a realtor who was showing her a home.
Neighbors reported hearing several gunshots. One told police he heard a second round of gunshots that sounded different from the first round, with shooting going back and forth two times. Another reported hearing about 30 shots. Yet another reported hearing two barrages of around 20 shots each. Homes and vehicles were struck.
One couple said they were at home with their two children at the time of the shooting when they heard gunshots. Everyone inside the home got down, according to police. The gunshots stopped and one of the residents looked out a window and saw three male subjects exit 120 Warwick Street. One of them allegedly had a shotgun, and a second allegedly had a handgun. The witness reported seeing the two who were armed allegedly pointing their firearms across the street from 120 Warwick Street; they then allegedly began shooting, according to police.
This neighbor then ran downstairs and called 911, according to police.
This resident said that his home had been struck by gunfire during this incident, according to police. A detective later observed a small circular defect on the upstairs master bedroom bathroom window that was consistent with being caused by a fired projectile, according to police. The detective also saw a fired projectile on the bathroom floor that was consistent with being fired from a rifle, according to police.
People were shot as well. Young people, one airlifted to John Stroger Hospital because of his injuries.
And this incident included a School District 163 board member being taken from her home in handcuffs, according to police. She would spend a night in jail pending investigation before being released the next day without charges, according to police. Her home and a stolen vehicle were the epicenters of the gun violence this afternoon, according to reports from multiple officers.
The Shootings Begin
Just before 2:30 in the afternoon, police received a call of shots fired in the 100 block of Warwick Street. While en route, officers learned that a black Chevy had crashed after “multiple shots fired were heard,” according to the initial report on the matter. When police arrived, one officer recognized a car that had been “jacked” out of Hazel Crest earlier that day. SouthCom Dispatch confirmed for officers that the car was the one stolen.
This incident was complex and there are reports of several officers we reviewed for this article. We reviewed 35 pages of reports from the Park Forest Police Department regarding this incident. It would appear that when the first call came in regarding the shots fired, the Park Forest Police Station was emptied of any officers who might have been there at the time.
A total of 19 Park Forest officers responded initially, likely everyone on shift.
The officer who wrote the first narrative of the reports we reviewed said that when she arrived she spoke to witnesses outside who told her three male subjects exited the Chevy and ran eastbound into a nearby field. Witnesses described the subjects who ran, according to police.
One caller told SouthCom Dispatch that a male subject was seen behind a home in the 100 block of Westwood Drive.
Two officers relocated to that address on Westwood Drive. The reporting officer drew her weapon and saw the subject behind that address in a field by a tree. The officers pointed their firearms at the subject and one of them began to give commands.
The reporting officer handcuffed the subject, later identified as a teenage juvenile.
Another officer who was one of the first to respond to the scene saw a young man, later identified as Ajhei A. Hawthorne, 19, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest, and a woman, later identified as Judy M. Hawthorne, 50, also of 120 Warwick Street. Ms. Hawthorne is a member of the District 163 School Board. The officer stopped both of them and Ajhei related that he lives at 120 Warwick Street and heard that his brother was shot, that he just arrived on the scene, according to the report. Judy confirmed that Ajhei was with her and that they had just arrived. They both became very emotional and were unable to tell the police any additional information, according to the report.
Both of them were allowed to return to 120 Warwick Street.
Witnesses Help Police Understand
This officer was approached by a neighbor on the street who said that her home had been struck by gunfire. The officer went to the home and saw a defect in an upstairs window, according to police. As the officer examined the damage, the woman’s husband came to see him and said that he saw multiple people exit 120 Warwick Street and allegedly fire weapons toward the crashed vehicle, according to police.
When this officer heard that shots allegedly came from 120 Warwick Street, he saw Ajhei Hawthorne standing in the driveway of the residence and made a decision to detain Ajhei and secure that home pending the issuance of a search warrant.
Another neighbor reported seeing someone with what appeared to be a shotgun allegedly shooting in the direction of the crashed vehicle, according to police.
Another witness saw someone who allegedly had a handgun shooting in the direction of the vehicle, according to police.
Other neighbors volunteered video from surveillance cameras at their homes, according to police.
Police Approach the Home in Question
Two officers went to 120 Warwick Street and approached Ajhei, asking him what had happened. Ajhei told officers he did not know. While speaking with him, an officer saw a spent shell casing in the driveway near where Ajhei was standing. The officer told Ajhei that he was going to be placed in handcuffs. Initially, Ajhei complied and placed his hands behind his back.
As the handcuffs were being placed on Ajhei, a second person, Jimmie L. Lyons, 18, 145 Warwick St., Park Forest, exited 120 Warwick Street and began to walk away from the home, according to police. An officer approached him and told him that he would be placed in handcuffs. While this was happening, Ajhei allegedly flexed his arms and pulled his hands free from behind his back with one handcuff still around his wrist, according to police.
Then, a pit bull ran from 120 Warwick Street as Judy Hawthorne was exiting the home. The dog began to approach officers. Richton Park officers were unable to properly assist with any arrests due to the pit bull, according to police. There were two officers on each side of Ajhei struggling with his arms, according to police. A third officer then unholstered his Taser and announced that he was going to deploy the device. That officer subsequently shot Ajhei with the Taser in his front torso, according to police. The report says the device was “effective” and Ajhei fell to the ground. Police then secured him in handcuffs.
A short time later, another family came out of the home and was able to get the dog back inside.
The Three Who Allegedly Ran from the Stolen Car
While this was happening, police learned that the officer stopped there were three gunshot victims in Central Park, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, according to police. The juvenile in police custody was taken to the Park Forest Police Department.
Another officer responded to 410 Lakewood Boulevard, Central Park, in reference to a possible gunshot victim. When he arrived, he saw three subjects walking southbound through the park by the baseball fields. The officer approached the subjects and observed injuries on all three of them.
The three identified themselves. They were all teenagers, all juveniles.
The officer saw abrasions on the head of one. In addition, that teen’s right hand was bleeding. The officer saw wounds on one of their shoulders and head and abrasions on another’s face with swelling on his mouth.
Park Forest, Matteson, and Richton Park Paramedics arrived on the scene and transported the teenage victims to St. James Hospital, according to police. The responding officer to Central Park spoke to them and reports that they were all uncooperative, according to police. Each of the victims stated that they did not know who did the shooting, according to police.
The three juveniles were taken to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields. One of them had to be airlifted to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds, according to police. This juvenile suffered three through-and-through gunshot wounds, a doctor would later tell a Park Forest officer. This teen also had abrasions on his forehead, but these were not gunshot wounds, according to police.
Back on Warwick Street, More Police Arrive
At this point, police from the Richton Park, Matteson, and Olympia Fields Police Departments responded to assist.
Witnesses on Warwick Street described residents who allegedly were at 120 Warwick Street shooting during this incident, according to police. Officers took two subjects into custody outside the house and other occupants of the home, according to police.
Police observed spent shell casings in the driveway of 120 Warwick Street, according to the report.
SouthCom Dispatch told officers that a witness described a male subject wearing a red T-shirt as one of the alleged shooters, possibly using an AK-47 type gun, according to police. The witness described seeing the male subject go back inside 120 Warwick Street, according to police.
Police established a perimeter around 120 Warwick Street and a Park Forest Commander initiated an Illinois Law Enforcement System (ILEAS) Callout for more assistance. Departments that responded included, but are not limited to, South Chicago Heights, Steger, Crete, Beecher, South Holland, Matteson, Richton Park, and Sauk Village, according to the report.
Residents described their alarm to eNews Park Forest at seeing SWAT teams in their neighborhood.
While patrolling the back of 120 Warwick Street, an officer saw a male subject with a red shirt who had previously been described to police through the back glass sliding door, according to the report. The officer confirmed with responding units that this individual was inside the residence, according to police.
At this point, Park Forest Police Department detectives responded to investigate as well as the South Suburban Emergency Response Team (SSERT), according to the report.
Once SSERT arrived on the scene, four people came to the side door of the house, according to police. Each subject was given commands to walk toward the officers, one at a time. Police handcuffed each subject.
The four subjects were later identified as a juvenile; another as Godson L. Givens, 19, 352 Winona St., Park Forest; another as Tre Amarion Hawthorne, 18, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest; and Judy Hawthorne, 50, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest.
Godson Givens and Tre Hawthorne were transported to the Matteson Police Department for investigation. Police conducted a Gunshot Residue Test on both and the tests were submitted to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
Judy Hawthorne, a member of the District 163 School Board, and the juvenile were transported to the Richton Park Police Department for investigation. An officer conducted a Gunshot Residue Test on both of them and the tests were submitted to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
Ms. Hawthorne invoked her Miranda Rights and refused to speak about this incident, according to police. She was subsequently escorted to a holding cell at the Richton Park Police Department pending further investigation, according to police. Ms. Hawthorne was released on Monday, January 16, 2023, at 8:18 PM without charges, according to police.
The scene on Warwick Street was turned over to SSERT and Park Forest Detectives, the initial narrative says.
Park Forest Police Dispatched to Multiple Locations
After this, one officer responded to the Park Forest Police Department to assist and was instructed to go to the Matteson Police Department to follow the Matteson Fire Department as they escorted Ajhei Hawthorne, 19, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest, to the hospital. The officer followed the Matteson Fire Department ambulance to South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. Ajhei, who had been tased, had two Taser probes attached to his chest and lower abdomen respectively, according to police. The probes were later removed at the hospital and then Ajhei was discharged. He was then transported to the Chicago Heights Police Department where he was temporarily housed, according to police.
Yet another officer arrived at Franciscan St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields to relieve an officer who was watching a juvenile prisoner, according to police. The juvenile was being released to police custody and the officer transported the juvenile to the Park Forest Police Department. The juvenile’s hands were tested for gunshot residue. He tested negative, according to police.
Police Perform Gunshot Residue Tests (GSRs)
An officer later performed a GSR and a rapid gunpowder particle test on Jimmie L. Lyons who had exited the home while police were taking Ajay into custody. This was later, at the Park Forest Police Department. According to police, the kit turned blue, indicating the presence of gunpowder residue, according to police.
An officer also performed a rapid gunshot residue test on Ajhei. There was no reaction to this test, indicating the test was negative. Ajhei was subsequently transported to the Matteson Police Department where the Matteson Fire Department responded to remove the Taser probes. They were unable to do so, so Ajeih was taken to South Suburban Hospital to have the probes removed and receive medical care, according to police.
Another officer performed a rapid gunshot residue test on a juvenile who was being held at the Park Forest Police Department. This test kit turned blue, indicating the presence of gunpowder residue, according to police.
More Damage from Gunfire
A couple who arrived home several hours after the shooting, while police had the street blocked off for the investigation, walked into a second-floor bedroom of their home and noticed debris on the north wall near the bed, according to police. They also saw a defect consistent with the projectile in the north wall, which apparently traveled through the bed comforter and mattress, according to police. Detectives found this and a second defect on a second-story window panel that appeared to be caused by a projectile, according to police.
The three juveniles from the car who were taken into custody in Central Park were charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and one of them with one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to police.
Tre Amarillo Hawthorne, 18, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest, was charged on January 17 with felony aggravated discharge of a firearm and felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Jimmie L. Lyons, 18, 145 Warwick St., Park Forest was charged on January 17 with felony aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Godson L. Givens, 18, 352 Winona St, Park Forest, was charged on January 17 with felony aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Ajhei Hawthorne, 19, 120 Warwick St., Park Forest, was charged with resisting/obstructing a peace officer.\
NOTA BENE: Another Juvenile Charged on February 8, 2023
ADDENDUM February 9, 2023: Deputy Chief John DeCeault emailed today at 3:00 PM to let us know that another juvenile who was sought by police in connection with this matter turned himself in yesterday, February 8, 2023. We did not mention him although we knew of him as we did not want to interfere with the ongoing investigation.
From Deputy Chief DeCeault, “I wanted to let you know that the last juvenile who was being sought by PF Detectives for the Warwick shooting incident turned himself in yesterday with an attorney.” According to Chief DeCeault, the juvenile was processed on charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
“The juvenile was transported to the Audi Home last night for a hearing before a juvenile judge this morning,” Chief DeCeault said.
According to police, the vehicle that was struck by gunfire and allegedly occupied by the three juveniles had one semi-automatic pistol located inside the vehicle.
Officers also executed a search warrant at 120 Warwick Street and located one AR-15 Rifle and one semi-automatic pistol, police tell eNews Park Forest.
This incident remains under investigation.
Rumors and Photos
The photographs included in this article were provided by a resident who does not wish to be identified.
We heard numerous rumors surrounding this incident. One was that police were purposefully withholding information from the public. The fact is, this was a very complex situation involving a massive police response and presence. Readers can see that now.
Police were extremely forthcoming in providing us with the redacted report on this incident very soon after we requested it.
Personally, I’ve never received a report like this, 35 pages in length, compiled by multiple officers over a period of days.
I especially appreciate Deputy Chief John DeCeault who responded quickly to every one of the follow-up questions I had as I reviewed the reports.
We are extremely grateful for our citizens who were quick to respond and call 911 when they realized the real danger that had erupted in their neighborhood. We are grateful to the police who responded. We are saddened that this happened at all and saddened for the young people allegedly involved in this incident.
We remind the public that police let residents know on social media on that Sunday that this incident was happening as it unfolded and updated the public when the scene was secure.
A resident expressed concern that this was a “new kind of crime” of sorts from Chicago in that it originated on social media. In response, police say they are not aware of anything in the investigation stemming from social media, although it would not be a surprise “if both parties communicated prior to the incident via social media as it appears both parties knew each other.”
About Police Reports
Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use the word “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and/or charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.
eNews Park Forest has always published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.
An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.
All of the incidents in this report were captured on body-worn and/or dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.
Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.