Questions linger one year after deadly Willowbrook mass shooting

One year after his brother died during a mass shooting near Willowbrook, Darren Meadows is still searching for answers.

A crowded Juneteenth celebration turned chaotic when gunfire rang out about 12:30 a.m on June 18, 2023, in a strip mall parking lot near Kingery Highway and Honeysuckle Rose Lane.

Reginald Meadows, a 31-year-old father of two, was killed, and more than 20 others were injured.

Investigators with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office recovered multiple handguns and more than 100 shell casings from the parking lot, along with video footage of what happened.

One man has been charged in connection with the shooting, but no one has been arrested for Meadows’ death.

DuPage County is trying to help residents in a nearby apartment complex heal from the trauma and get access to services. But the sheriff’s office has remained mum about the investigation, leaving family members such as Darren Meadows frustrated.

“Honestly, I feel like my brother has been neglected,” Meadows said as he reflected on the past 12 months. “My frustration is really high. There’s answers that need to be told. … I don’t need my brother’s murder to be swept under the rug.”

Celebration turns deadly

Witnesses described seeing hundreds of people, including a few deputies keeping tabs on the event, in the Somerset Plaza parking lot in the hours before the shooting.

The same deputies were responding to another call nearby when they heard gunshots ring out in the strip mall parking lot. Cellphone and surveillance video captured the sound of the gunshots and the chaos that ensued as people ran for cover.

Reginald Meadows

Provided

Investigators believe multiple people fired weapons that night.

An Aurora man, Anthony Mothershed, was arrested in October and charged with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He has not been charged with Meadows’ death.

Prosecutors claim Mothershed was standing with a group of friends by a beauty shop when he began firing a .45-caliber handgun into the crowd. They have not said why the shooting started. Investigators have said they believe multiple people fired weapons that night.

DuPage County sheriff’s officials did not respond to requests for comment and denied a Freedom of Information request seeking police reports and 911 calls. In the denial, the sheriff’s office pointed to a DuPage County judge’s order barring the release of any records.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed last week against the owners, BCD Liquors and Five Star Pantry, both located in the strip mall. Ten others who were injured in the shooting also filed lawsuits against the two stores. The lawsuits allege both stores stayed open past their 11 p.m. closing time that night and sold alcoholic beverages and, by doing so, “contributed to the shooting.”

A DuPage County sheriff’s deputy looks at the scene at a Willowbrook-area shopping center where a man was killed and 22 others wounded during a Juneteenth celebration in 2023.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Read more at dailyherald.com.

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