A man murdered eight people in Illinois before killing himself hundreds of miles away. His motive is a mystery

Romeo Nance is believed to have killed eight people in Chicago (via Reuters)
Romeo Nance is believed to have killed eight people in Chicago (via Reuters)

A man suspected of killing eight people in a Chicago suburb took his own life following a confrontation with federal law enforcement hundreds of miles away in Texas.

Romeo Nance, 23, was found dead on Monday near Natalia, Texas, more than 1,000 miles from where he is believed to have killed eight people at three locations on Sunday in the south Chicago suburb of Joliet.

The discovery of Nance’s body ended a huge manhunt for the suspect, who authorities warned “should be regarded as armed and dangerous”.

Investigators say Nance was related to most of the victims, seven of whom are believed to be from the same family.

Police are now investigating the shootings, with many questions still unanswered about what Nance’s motives may have been.

Here’s all we know so far:

Eight people killed in Chicago

Police believe Nance is connected to the murder of eight people at three locations near Chicago.

He is believed to have shot seven people at two relatives’ homes in the city of Joliet on Sunday, then fired randomly at two men – one outside an apartment building and another on a residential street, Joliet and Will County officials said on Tuesday.

The first victim to be discovered was found by police at a home in Will County on Sunday, authorities said. Seven other victims were found the next day at two addresses about six miles north-west of the scene police discovered first.

Romeo Nance is believed to have killed eight people in Chicago (via Reuters)
Romeo Nance is believed to have killed eight people in Chicago (via Reuters)

Will County Sheriff’s Office deputy chief of operations Dan Jungles said deputies discovered a person “with blood coming out of his head, and upon deputy’s arrival, they located a gunshot wound”.

The victim was then taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries, Mr Jungles said.

Mr Jungles added that Nance’s car – a red Toyota Camry – was spotted at the scene, which prompted the sheriff’s department to begin surveilling Nance’s last-known address, hoping to find the vehicle.

After finding no sign of Nance or his car, deputies knocked on the door of a home, but received no response. “When they received no response, they knew the house across the street was related to the individuals that resided at that house and they walked over there,” Mr Jungles said at a press conference.

That is when deputies saw blood on the door of the second home, Mr Jungles added.

Deputies then entered the home and found two dead bodies.

Five more victims were found in the first home, though it is unclear how long they had been dead, Mr Jungles said.

“I’ve been a policeman 25 years. This is probably the worst crime scene I’ve ever been associated with,” he continued.

Nance is also believed to be connected to another non-fatal shooting of a 42-year-old man on Sunday at a separate location, according to authorities.

Who are the victims?

The first victim was identified as 28-year-old Toyosi Bakare. Police believe Nance shot Mr Bakare randomly.

Mr Bakare was from Nigeria and had been living in Will County for three years, according to Mr Jungles.

The other seven victims found at the Joliet homes were indentified as 38-year-old Christine Esters, 47-year-old Tamaeka Nance, 35-year-old William Esters II, 31-year-old Joshua Nance and 20-year-old Alexandria Nance. The names of two teenage girls, 14 and 16, were not released.

Joliet Police said they believe Nance was related to most of the victims, seven of whom were from the same family.

Police added that they had not yet determined the victims’ exact relationships to Nance.

Investigators do not believe that Mr Bakare was related to any of the other victims.

The ninth man, who was shot in the leg, is also believed to have been shot randomly and was not connected to any of the other victims.

Suspect took his own life

Following a manhunt, Nance was found on 22 January by US Marshals at a gas station near Natalia, Texas.

Medina County, Texas, sheriff Randy Brown said that officers surrounded Nance, before a confrontation occurred and Nance took his own life.

“It is believed that Nance took his own life with a handgun following a confrontation with Texas law enforcement officials,” police said.

It remains unclear why Nance travelled to Natalia, which is more than 1,000 miles from Joliet by road. Driving between the two locations would take at least 18 hours.

Illinois authorities confirmed on Tuesday that Nance had no known ties to Texas.

Sheriff Brown said he believes Nance was trying to reach Mexico.

“It seems like they [criminal suspects] all head to Mexico,” Sheriff Brown said.

Police are now working to establish Nance’s motive for the killings.

“We can’t get inside his head,” Joliet Police chief Bill Evans told reporters. “We just don’t have any clue as to why he did what he did.”

“We may never know the truth or motives,” Mr Jungles added.