All 8 victims of Joliet shootings identified, police still searching for motive

Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans speaks at the press conference to give updates on the West Acres Road shooting at Joliet City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 23rd in Joliet.

Joliet — While police do not yet have a motive behind the Joliet mass shooting that concluded with the suspect taking his own life in Texas, they believe the shooting of seven people on the city’s west side occurred before two other random shootings.

The names of the seven victims who were shot to death early Sunday afternoon in two separate homes in the 2200 block of West Acres Road in Joliet were released Tuesday afternoon by the office of Will County Coroner Laurie H. Summers.

Christine Esters, 38, Tameka Nance, 47, William Esters II, 35, Joshua Nance, 31, all of Joliet, Alexandria Nance, 20, and a 16-year-old female and 14-year-old female all were pronounced dead at the scene.

Autopsies were performed Tuesday, and while the deaths have been ruled homicides, the final cause and manner are pending police and toxicological reports, according to the coroner’s office.

“The planning within our team for this type of tragedy reflects the dedication and professionalism of the Will County coroners employees,” Summers said in a news release.

While not identifying the victims, Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans said at an earlier Tuesday press briefing the four victims who were shot to death in one residence included the teenage females ages 14 and 16, a 20-year-old woman, Alexandria Nance, a 38-year-old woman, Christine Esters, and a 31-year-old male, Joshua Nance.

The two victims shot to death in another residence across the street was a 47-year-old woman, Tameka Nance, and a 35-year-old man, William Esters II, Evans said.

Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans speaks at the press conference to give updates on the mass shooting on the 2200 block of  West Acres Road at Joliet City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Joliet.

The deaths on West Acres Road happened the same day as the fatal shooting of Toyosi Bakare, 28, at the Pheasant Run Apartments in Joliet Township, and a non-fatal shooting of a 42-year-old man in the 200 block of Davis Street, police said.

Neither Evans nor Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dan Jungles had a motive behind the killings that were linked to suspect Romeo Nance, 23, who lives at one of the two residences. Police have not named any other suspects other than Nance, who fled from police and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Texas.

“Yeah, we can’t get inside his head. We just don’t have any clue as to why he did what he did,” Evans said at the news conference.

Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English, the department’s spokesman, later said the shootings that occurred on West Acres Road appear to be “domestic in nature.”

Jungles said in many cases, they may never “know the truth or the motive behind these senseless killings.”

English described the mass shooting as “arguably the most heinous crime our city and our department has handled.”

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s Office authorized at least two first-degree murder charges against Nance on Tuesday, but the case was closed because of his death. The criminal complaint that was sworn out by a Joliet police detective had listed a male and female victim, but neither were named.

Evans said Nance had a “family relationship between the two residences” on West Acres Road and he was related to a majority of the victims.

One of the homes along 2200 West Acres where several victims were found shot remains taped up on Tuesday, Jan. 23rd in Joliet.

Based on the information provided by police as of Tuesday afternoon, the shootings that led to the seven deaths on West Acres Road occurred before the shootings of Bakare and the victim on Davis Street.

Jungles said sheriff’s detectives learned that Bakare had “exited his residence in an attempt to purchase some cigarettes at a local gas station.”

“Video surveillance recovered at the scene showed the suspect vehicle both entering and exiting the Pheasant Run Apartments in a short period of time,” Jungles said.

Police later learned that Nance was in Texas after his vehicle – a red Toyota Camry – had been spotted by a helicopter on Interstate 35, Jungles said. Nance pulled into a gas station in Natalia, which is southwest of San Antonio, and fled the vehicle while possessing a firearm, Jungles said.

Authorities in Texas gave chase, but Nance decided to take his life, Jungles said.

Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy attends the press conference at Joliet City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 23 where local law enforcement gave updates on the mass shooting on the 2200 block of  West Acres Road on Sunday.  Seven people were killed in two homes. Another person was shot to death in Joliet Township that same day.

“Mr. Nance’s reign of terror in our communities in Will County is now over,” Jungles said.

Evans said police believe Nance possibly stopped by a mall in Texas to switch out his license plates in an attempt throw off law enforcement.

“That’s what the theory is right now,” he said.

The events that led to the discovery of the mass shooting on West Acres Road began about 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the shooting of Bakare was reported.

Detectives discovered Bakare suffered a gunshot wound to the head and believe a 9 mm handgun may have been used in the crime, Jungles said. While securing the crime scene, detectives then learned of the non-fatal Davis Street shooting in Joliet that involved the same suspect vehicle, a red Toyota Camry, Jungles said.

Detectives learned robbery was not a motive behind Bakare’s shooting, Jungles said.

“Our hearts break for the Bakare family and those that had been affected by this senseless act of violence,” he said.

Detectives then discovered the suspect vehicle was known to be used by Nance and police conducted “saturation patrols” in areas Nance was known to frequent, including West Acres Road, Jungles said.

After police were unable to find the vehicle, they believed Nance had fled Will County and posed no threat to the public, Jungles said. Detectives then tried to contact the owner at one of the two addresses at West Acres Road but received no response, he said.

Detectives turned to another residence on the same street that Nance was known to reside at and noticed “blood located on the front door” and fresh gunshots to the door as well, Jungles said.

Detectives made entry into the residence and found two dead bodies, Jungles said. Joliet police were contacted and once they arrived on scene, they entered the other residence, where they discovered five more dead bodies, he said.

The Texas Rangers are handling the investigation in Natalia, while police in Joliet and Will County continue to investigate a possible motive and how Nance was connected to the victims.

Natalia is about 30 mile southwest of San Antonio and about 115 miles from the Mexico border.

According to NBC 4 San Antonio, the U.S. Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force located Nance’s car, with Illinois license plates, and tracked him to Chubby’s Travel Center, a gas station in Natalia off Interstate 35.

The Medina County Sheriff’s Office confirmed their involvement in a Facebook post Monday night, and said that there was no threat to the community as the suspect had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.