Brookfield’s police chief said Thursday afternoon that he could neither confirm nor deny reports that the man killed in his car outside of his Brookfield home on Jan. 27 had testified in court in connection with a criminal case earlier that day.
Chief James Episcopo said that investigators had also heard reports that 33-year-old Michael Smith had testified in court that day. However, he declined to discuss what his investigators had found.
“We’re following up on all of our leads and tracking his whereabouts for the day,” Episcopo said. “But we’re certainly not in a position to confirm that or not.”
The Landmark has been told by at least three unrelated sources that Smith had testified in court earlier on Wednesday. Social media on Thursday was buzzing about Smith’s appearance in court to testify against an as-yet unnamed defendant on Wednesday prior to his death.
Smith was gunned down in front of his home in the 3700 block of Forest Avenue on Wednesday shortly after noon, just as he pulled his silver Mercury sedan to the curb.
Police have released few details about the incident, but Episcopo has confirmed they are looking for a newer-model, blue four-door hatchback vehicle with a partial license plate number of Z21 that was seen leaving the scene.
Smith, who worked as a security guard, was pulling his car to the curb at the intersection of Forest and Grant avenues, facing northbound, in front of his Forest Avenue home at about 12:10 p.m. on Jan. 27.
The blue vehicle heading southbound, pulled up next to Smith’s car and someone inside the vehicle fired several rounds at point-blank range through the driver’s side window of the car, killing Smith.
A witness, who declined to give his name to the Landmark, said he was working in his garage at the time of incident. The witness stated he heard nine gunshots in fast succession.
“At first I thought the shots were behind me and I covered my head,” the man told the Landmark. “Then I jumped up and all I could see was the back of a car going [south on Forest Avenue].”
The witness said he ran over to Smith’s vehicle to check on him, “but he was gone.” The man said he believed two people were inside the blue vehicle, though he didn’t get a good look at them.
“I was in so much shock, I really wasn’t paying attention to that,” the man said. “It’s scary as hell, I know that.”
Smith’s Facebook page states that he worked as mobile supervisor at Advanced Security Solutions Inc. in Des Plaines. He is a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School and attended Triton College.