‘It’s stolen opportunities,’ relatives say at candlelight vigil for 3 killed in Bolingbrook home invasion – Chicago Tribune

A group of about 100 people gathered Wednesday evening at the DuPage Township Center, in remembrance of the lives lost in the home invasion killings of three people, including two girls, inside a Bolingbrook home Sunday.

The vigil gave time for the community to come together after 17-year-old Byrion Montgomery allegedly got inside of a home Sunday night and fired shots at a family living there.

Cartez Daniels, 40, and Samiya Shelton-Tillman, 17, both died from multiple gunshot wounds after the shooting, and 9-year-old Sanjia Daniels was also killed, officials and relatives confirmed. Another person, a 34-year-old woman, was also shot but survived.

Montgomery, 17, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, home invasion, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in the attack. Montgomery had been in a dating relationship with Shelton-Tillman. His bail was set at $20 million, officials said.

Cartez Daniels’ sister Erica Daniels said her brother was back and forth between Rockford, his hometown, and Bolingbrook, where his fiancee had recently moved. Sanjia is Daniels’ niece.

Police said the 34-year-old woman, who Erica Daniels said is Cartez Daniels’ fiancee, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds after the shooting.

Erica Daniels said her brother and his fiancee had been together for more than 10 years. She said Sanjai Daniels was their child together, while Shelton-Tillman, his fiancee’s other daughter, “was his because he raised her.”

Tomika Reeds, another sister of Cartez Daniels who spoke at the vigil, said her brother and family are from Rockford. Both sisters drove from Rockford to attend the vigil in Bolingbrook Wednesday night with their children.

“What I’m most upset about is that this happened and it’s stolen opportunities,” Reeds said. “Opportunities for us to see the babies grow up. For me to see my brother get married to his fiancee. The whole experience taken away from our family.”

Reeds said her brother was “the funniest person that you’ll ever meet” and that “he loved his family.”

“He was creative,” Reeds said. “He loved music and performing and comedy. He was always laughs. He always had something funny to say. How do you reconcile with that loss?”

Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta attended the vigil and said a few words of hope to the crowd. Local faith representatives also spoke and offered prayers, including Pastor Zilzah Trotter with One Kingdom Worship in Bolingbrook and Bolingbrook police Chaplain Elmer Haris.

Bolingbrook resident Teresa Martin, who has lived in the suburb for 10 years, organized the candlelight vigil. Though she didn’t know the people killed personally, she said, she decided to rally the community for a moment of peace in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“I care about people, and I care about what happens to people, or what happens in our community and around the world,” she told the Tribune before the vigil.

“I have never seen anything like this here in Bolingbrook,” she said, describing it as a quiet, positive community that comes together for block parties and garage sales.

After the last prayer, attendees were invited to write down some words for the family on little squares of paper and to light tea light candles on a picnic bench.

Mourners gather March 8, 2023, at the DuPage Township Center in Bolingbrook for a vigil to remember three people who were killed in a March 5 home invasion in the suburb.

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Officers responded to reports of a home invasion in the 100 block of Lee Lane around 8:15 p.m. Sunday. Two boys, ages 3 and 14, were also in the home at the time of the shooting, but were physically unharmed, Bolingbrook police spokesperson Anthony Columbus said.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate that both Daniels and Shelton-Tillman died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Will County coroner’s office.

Montgomery pleaded not guilty in Will County court Tuesday morning. He is expected back in court March 30.

Officers detained Montgomery near his home at 10 p.m. Sunday, police said.

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