Five women were shot to death Saturday in what police are calling a possible botched robbery in a Lane Bryant clothing store in a Tinley Park, Ill., shopping center.
Police were still searching for the gunman late Saturday.
The family of Carrie Hudek Chiuso, a Frankfort social worker, said that she was one of the victims.
Chiuso, who was in her early 30s, was in the store shopping.
"She is the most wonderful person, and that maniac took a piece of all of us," said Jennifer Hudek, Chiuso's sister-in-law.
At least one victim was an employee of the store.
Police said the victims' ages ranged from 22 to 37.
At a 6 p.m. news briefing, Tinley Park police called the shooting a possible robbery but offered few other details.
Police still were not releasing the identities of the victims pending family notification.
Police received a call at 10:44 a.m. reporting multiple gunshot victims inside the store in the Brookside Marketplace shopping center.
"Responding units entered the store and discovered multiple victims who'd been shot and killed," Police Sgt. T.J. Grady said at a news conference.
The gunman fled the area after the shooting.
Grady said a police canvass and helicopter search had "given us every indication that the offender has fled the scene."
Investigators were trying to determine whether there was video of the incident from security cameras mounted on nearby stores.
Police said the Lane Bryant store did not have a camera.
Police said no further information would be made available until today, after forensic exams were completed.
The shopping center, which is just south of Interstate 80, includes a SuperTarget, a Best Buy and several restaurants surrounding a large parking lot.
The small red- and brown-brick Lane Bryant is part of a cluster of four or five stores isolated on one side of the parking lot, with the big-box stores several hundred yards away.
Shortly after the shooting, in the Target store across the parking lot from Lane Bryant, terrified customers were herded to the front as police with pistols and rifles drawn went up and down the aisles and into storerooms searching for the gunman.
"I was so scared I couldn't think," said Selena Kujawa, who had just entered the store with her 5-year-old son when it was locked down.
After about an hour, customers were told to leave.
"They told us to get in our cars and get out of here," Kujawa said.