Fatal shooting hits close to home

Tragedy occurs right before Community House starts summer camp in neighborhood

Less than 36 hours after a man was fatally shot June 18 in the vicinity of Hinsdale Lake Terrace, The Community House welcomed 72 kids in the neighborhood to the first day of summer camp.

“We made the decision to start summer camp as normal,” said Dan Janowick, executive director of The Community House. “We had two members of The Community House social work team to start summer camp with us.”

The Community House has been partnering for almost 30 years with Community Consolidated Elementary District 180 to provide after-school programs and summer camps to families. In 2022, the nonprofit launched a plan to expand counseling services and provide additional community and youth recreation activities to family in the unincorporated and under-resourced neighborhood.

The man who was killed — identified on Chicago TV news as 31-year-old Reginald Meadows — was the father of two children who attend Burr Ridge Middle School, Janowick said.

A large number of celebrants had started gathering about 6 p.m. June 17 at Honeysuckle Lane and Route 83 near Willowbrook. Police were monitoring the scene, according to a press release from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office. Then they left at 12:25 a.m. to respond to a 911 call alleging a fight had broken out nearby.

“As deputies responded, they heard gunshots and immediately returned to the scene of the gathering,” the release state.

An unknown number of suspects fired multiple rounds from multiple weapons, killing one person and injuring 22, the release states.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the victims, we will not be releasing their names, locations or individual conditions,” a June 19 release from the sheriff’s office states. “We understand and empathize with the media and public in their desire for more information, but we must balance that need with the need to preserve the integrity of our investigation. We want to assure everyone that we intend to be fully transparent once our investigation is completed.”

Hinsdale police officers were dispatched to the scene after monitoring a call for additional units from the sheriff’s office, police reported. One Hinsdale officer stopped a vehicle on Route 83 north of Ogden that contained a gunshot victim. Officers provided First Aid to the victim prior to transport by the fire department to a local hospital.

Hinsdale officers also provided assistance at University of Chicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale Hospital. The hospital received three gunshot patients from the event, including Meadows, who arrived in cardiac arrest, a hospital spokesman said. Two arrived by private car and one via ambulance. One was in fair condition and transferred; the third was in good condition and transferred.

Detectives assigned to the MERIT investigative team continue to assist in the investigation.

A sense of normalcy

The start of summer camp Monday morning was perfect timing, “so the kids would have a sense of routine, a sense of normalcy,” Janowick said.

Some families were not ready to start camp. Of the 96 kids registered, only 72 attended the first day, he said. Some were sick, but many families remained unsettled by the tragedy.

“There were a number of families that reached out and said, ‘We’re not ready yet,’ ” Janowick said.

He said staff made sure parents knew resources were available to help them help their children.

“There are developmentally appropriate ways to talk about this with your kids and you need to talk about it with your kids,” was the message, Janowick said. Kids are certainly aware of what happened, he added.

“This is international news,” he said.

The families in Willowbrook Corner, as The Community House refers to the area, have the same needs and desires for their kids as families in Hinsdale do, Janowick said, noting his frustration with some social media posts.

“For me it is disheartening to see groups of people dehumanized,” he remarked. “I’m lucky to be on the side of it where the large majority of what I’ve seen is people from the community and organizations trying to ask, ‘How can we help?’

“The Community House is going to continue to be there and to help the families through this,” he said.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean