Western Springs police on Oct. 4 announced they had charged two men with felony weapons offenses after two handguns were found inside their vehicle, which was parked in the northwest corner of the parking lot of the Lyons Township High School South Campus, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road shortly after the Oct. 2 homecoming football game at Bennett Field between LTHS and Proviso West.
Each of the 19-year-old men, Demitrus R. Ross, of Harvey, and Donny J. Starkes, of Blue Island, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon/possession of a firearm on school grounds.
Police have not commented on why the men were present at the football game other than to say neither was a student at Lyons Township High School.
The two appeared before Cook County Judge David Navarro, who set their bond at $10,000 cash or 10 percent with electronic monitoring on Oct. 3 during weekend bond court in Chicago. The Cook County Jail website indicated that Starkes remains in custody awaiting an Oct. 5 hearing at the Bridgeview courthouse.
The arrests on Oct. 2 just a couple of hours before the school’s homecoming dance at South Campus prompted school officials to cancel the dance, saying they were working to reschedule the event for some time in the next few weeks. As of Oct. 4, no date had been set.
Police initially responded to South Campus after getting a report of a fight about 4:10 p.m. An anonymous caller also called 911 to report that two people at South Campus were possibly armed with handguns.
That caller gave police physical descriptions of the suspects and a description of their vehicle. Police responding to the scene identified two suspects attempting to enter a black Chrysler 200M and detained them.
While neither man was armed, a police officer observed two handguns in plain view inside the Chrysler. An initial report of the incident on the day of the homecoming game stated the guns were found under the driver and front passenger seats. Police reported recovering a Glock 9 mm handgun with an extended 30-round magazine and a Glock 9 mm handgun with an extended 29-round magazine.
Western Springs called out the west suburban Major Case Assistant Team (MCAT), prompting a large response of police from surrounding suburbs, including Riverside and Brookfield.
Police cordoned off the area and staged an extensive search to ensure no other firearms turned up. Officers, who remained on scene for several hours, did not report finding any other weapons.
Western Springs police also stated in a press release that “visible police presence will be increased over the next week at Lyons Township High School.”
Neither Western Springs Police Chief Brian Budds nor LTHS District 204 Superintendent Brian Waterman responded to phone messages seeking further information left by the Landmark.
A letter to LTHS families on the school’s website praised the police investigation and also offered resources to students seeking emotional support.
“LT counselors and social workers are available for students who need assistance, and resources have been shared with staff on how to recognize students who may be having difficulty and how to continue to support our students and each other,” the letter stated.
Lyons Township High School serves the southern half of Brookfield.