Fatal shooting in River Forest: 'Looking at her lifeless, I couldn't breathe'

Social IssuesCrime, Law and JusticeCrimeHealthDominican UniversityColleges and UniversitiesHomicide

Three men were being questioned Tuesday in the shooting death of a woman in River Forest, which may have stemmed from a domestic situation, a law enforcement source said.

Chervon Alexander, 29, was shot several times in a parking lot on Division Street, adjacent to Dominican University’s Priory Campus, at about 10:20 p.m. Monday. It was the first murder in the western suburb since 2005.

Alexander was with a man, possibly her boyfriend, when she was shot, the source said. The man called police to report the shooting, the source said.

Minutes later, Forest Park and Oak Park police stopped a gray Chevrolet Impala that matched a witness description, police said. A gun was recovered in the car, according to police. Authorities said Tuesday they were interviewing suspects and witnesses.

Two men in the car were taken in for questioning, as was the possible boyfriend, according to the law enforcement source.

No charges had been filed as of Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Alexander’s friends and family gathered at her home in Chicago’s NorthAustin neighborhood, remembering her as a driven and cheerful woman who was great with children.

Vincent Hinton, a close friend who lived next door to Alexander, said he got a call late Monday that she had been injured.

By the time he got to the emergency room of Loyola University Medical Center, Alexander was already dead.

“Knowing her face, seeing her smiling, and then looking at her same face lifeless,” Hinton said, his eyes wet with tears. “I couldn't breathe.”

Hinton said he met Alexander when he moved to the 1300 block of North Mayfield Avenue about 11 years ago. She recently graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and had begun looking for a job with a law enforcement agency, he said.

Most recently, she had worked for the U.S. census, said Hinton’s wife, Tiheta.

Alexander had a daughter as well as an adopted son whom she took in after a family member could no longer care for the boy, Vincent Hinton said.

She would often drive her daughter along with a group of neighborhood kids to school. She regularly took the Hintons’ 13-year-old son on outings with her kids.

“She was a wonderful person,” Vincent Hinton said. “When she smiled, if it didn't light up the room, it lit up every face in the room.”

Hinton said he happened to peer out of his front window on Monday night and saw Alexander getting into a car.

A few hours later, as Hinton and his wife were getting ready to go to bed, Hinton said he received a call from her family saying she had been injured.

By midafternoon Tuesday, some discarded yellow police tape was the only sign anything had happened at the scene of the murder along a tree-lined street in River Forest.

Children sailed by on scooters and bikes, while a girls lacrosse coach set up for practice in an adjacent field. Nonetheless, residents remained stunned by the shooting.

“It shakes you up,” said Ellen Landgren, 22, who lives down the street from the parking lot. “It was shocking.”

Tribune reporters George Knue, Liam Ford, Jason Meisner and Carlos Sadovi contributed.

cdizikes@tribune.comjjaworski@tribune.com

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