Michael Smith (Facebook)

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.

Smith family fundraiser raises $10,000 in 16 hours onlin

A GoFundMe fundraising page was created Thursday evening to honor Michael Smith and to raise money for his family. By Friday morning nearly $10,000 of the $20,000 goal had been reached.

Smith was murdered Wednesday just in front of his family home on Forest Avenue in Brookfield. The Landmark reported Thursday that Smith, 33, had testified in court in connection with a criminal case earlier that day. No suspects are in custody.

With contributions ranging from $10 to a single donation of $5,000, friends and neighbors of the Brookfield family have responded quickly with a total of 58 donations received by 10 a.m. Friday. A link to the GoFundMe page is at the bottom of this story.

In an introduction to the page, Smith was described as a "wonderful, loving husband, father, son and friend" who "loved his family more than words can describe." The fund organizer said the family has "a long road ahead of them and the last thing I want them to worry about is how they will pay their bills."

Dan Haley

https://www.gofundme.com/jngz9t4s

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