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Man accused of killing 8 near Chicago was related to most of the victims, authorities say

However, it remained unclear why Romeo Nance, 23, would allegedly kill seven people at two homes in Joliet, Illinois, and another person in Joliet Township.
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The man accused of fatally shooting eight people near Chicago before fleeing to Texas and killing himself in a confrontation with U.S. marshals was related to most, if not all, of the victims, authorities said Tuesday.

However, it remained unclear why Romeo Nance, 23, would allegedly kill seven people at two homes in Joliet, Illinois, and another person in Joliet Township.

"We can’t get inside his head," Joliet Police Chief Bill Evans said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "We just don’t have any clue as to why he did what he did."

The shootings in the two homes occurred in the 2200 block of West Acres Road on Sunday, Evans told reporters. The seven victims found at the homes were ages 14 to 47, he added.

"We do know right now that there was a family relationship between the two residences," he said, naming Nance as a relative to the "vast majority" of the seven victims.

At one of the homes on West Acres, there were five victims: 14- and 16-year-old girls, 20- and 38-year-old women and a 38-year-old man, Evans said.

There were two victims at the second home, a 47-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, he said.

On Tuesday evening the Will County Coroner's Office identified the victims as Christine Esters, 38, Tamaeka Nance, 47, William Esters II, 35, Joshua Nance, 31, and Alexandria Nance, 20. The names of the two teenage victims were not released.

Autopsies were conducted Tuesday, the coroner said in a Facebook post, and the cause and manner of death are pending.

Authorities had previously identified one of the victims as Toyosi I. Bakare, 28, a Nigerian immigrant who was found shot in the head outside an apartment complex in Joliet Township. Bakare was declared dead at a hospital, authorities said.

Police in Joliet were urgently searching for a suspect considered “armed and dangerous” after several people were found dead from gunshot wounds on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
Police in Joliet were urgently searching for a person considered “armed and dangerous” after multiple people were found dead from gunshot wounds Monday afternoon, authorities said.NBC Chicago

Two of the victims were found Monday while Will County sheriff’s deputies were looking for Nance’s red Toyota Camry in connection with two other shootings Sunday, one of which was fatal.

Deputies went to Nance's last known residence, but nobody answered, authorities said. The deputies then went to a nearby residence that was connected to Nance.

Evans said the two homes were the "probably the worst crime scene I’ve been associated with" after 29 years in law enforcement.

The sheriff's office had sought information from the public about Nance's whereabouts.

Police in Joliet were later informed that he had been located by the U.S. Marshals Service in Texas and that he had shot himself. He managed to elude authorities in the state after he stole Texas license plates from vehicles at a mall and put them on his Camry, Evans said.

Nance was found near Natalia, outside San Antonio, around 8:30 pm. local time, police said.

It’s not clear why Nance went to Texas, as he did not appear to have any connection to the state, Evans said.

Will County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Dan Jungles, who spoke to reporters Tuesday alongside Evans, said Bakare left his home to buy cigarettes at a gas station before he was gunned down. Robbery did not appear to be a motive, because money was found near the victim after he was shot, Jungles said.

About 10 minutes before Bakare was shot, a 42-year-old man was shot in a leg and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, the Will County Sheriff's Office said.

"Mr. Nance's reign of terror in our communities in Will County is now over," Jungles said.

There did not appear to be any connection between the shootings at the homes in Joliet and the two other people Nance is accused of shooting, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said Tuesday that Nance had an extensive criminal history. Will County court records show he had at least 19 charges dating back to 2019, but most were for traffic violations.

Attorney Jordan Kielian, who has represented Nance in past cases, said Tuesday that Nance was due in court Feb. 1 in connection with a charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm after an alleged road rage dispute.

No one was injured in the incident in January 2023, in which Nance was accused of firing a handgun. Nance had not entered a plea in the case, Kielian said.

While he was jailed, Nance was also charged with battery linked to an incident involving an inmate. He had not entered a plea in that case, Kielian said.

He said his client was bonded out of jail Feb. 21.

Kielian said he was in communication with Nance but would not disclose the last time they spoke. Nance never missed a court date, Kielian said.

Court records show Nance was charged with robbery in 2019 and charged last year with obstructing a police officer and possession of a firearm without the requisite owner’s identification card. The outcomes of those cases were not immediately clear Tuesday night.