Witnesses describe Chicago mall shooter

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS/AP) -- As police continued their search Sunday for a gunman who killed five women at a suburban Chicago strip mall a day earlier, passers-by erected a memorial of five white crosses and flowers to the victims.

Sunday night, police say a sixth woman was hurt. While she is expected to recover, she is already working with officers searching for the gunman, reports CBS News station WBBM-TV in Chicago.

Tinley Park Police Sgt. T.J. Grady also says a second witness has come forward with a description of the suspect's vehicle. While more details will be released Monday, Grady did say the car is red, which will allow police to better analyze surveillance video, and perhaps enhance a license plate, reports WBBM.

Police released few details about the Saturday shooting at the Lane Bryant clothing store. Investigators believed it was a robbery that was interrupted, but declined to say how it was stopped or who called 911.

"This has been an extremely sensitive investigation," police Chief Mike O'Connell said.

O'Connell said a bystander told officers that he had seen a stocky black man, about 5-ft.-9, who was wearing a black winter coat, a knit cap and dark pants, reports WBBM.

"We are very comfortable that the offender is out of the area. We had an immediate search of the area immediately after the incident was reported. We had an officer respond within a minute," O'Connell said Saturday.

Attempts to find him with dogs and a helicopter equipped with infrared sensors also failed, authorities said.

The five women - a manager and four customers -- were herded into the back room of the store and killed shortly after it opened, authorities have said. The Will County coroner's office said all five died from gunshot wounds.

The victims were identified as Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; Sarah T. Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest; Carrie H. Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort; Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet; and Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Ind.

In a Target store across the parking lot from Lane Bryant, terrified customers were herded to the front as police with pistols and rifles drawn went up and down the aisles and into storerooms searching for the gunman, reports WBBM.

Chicago-area Lane Bryant stores were closed Sunday in honor of those who died. The store's parent company, Bensalem, Pa.-based Charming Shoppes Inc., offered a $50,000 reward for information that could lead police to the gunman.

Will County Crime Stoppers were also offering a $5,000 reward, reports WBBM.

"The employees of Charming Shoppes and Lane Bryant are deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from this horrific event," the statement said. "We grieve for the innocent victims and our primary concern at this time is for the families and loved ones of those fatally injured."

Police tape flapped in the wind in front of the boarded-up store, while mourners erected the makeshift memorial of crosses and flowers in the parking lot.

A tear rolled down Cindy Sorenson's cheek as she brought a bouquet of bright red roses to Lane Bryant. Sorenson, who works at a nearby mall, said she didn't know the victims, but couldn't stop thinking about them.

"You spend so much time in a store and you never think anything like this will happen," the 34-year-old Sorenson said.

Friends and family remembered the victims as strong, caring women.

"Our emotions are raw. And we are still in shock," Szafranski's family said in a statement. "Sarah was loved by all who knew her and we are counting on that love to sustain us while we mourn."

Szafranski was a 2007 graduate of Northern Illinois University who was working as a paralegal, according to a Web site that appeared to be her Facebook page.

Chiuso was a social worker at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where she graduated 1993.

"Carrie was deeply loved by faculty and staff," said school spokesman Dave Thieman in a statement. "She had a real touch with students. The entire H-F family is deeply saddened."

McFarland was an ordained minister who began working at the retailer after her church closed spent the past two years as store manager. Her best friend, Sandra McGhee of Joliet, said she was a hopeful, prayerful woman.

"Because I know her so well, I think to the end Rhoda might have even tried to talk to this man, tried to help him," McGhee said. "Even with her last breath, I believe she would have been forgiving him and trying to help him."

Bishop was a part-time nurse in the intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, according to spokeswoman Ruth Linster, who said she'd worked there for 13 years.

"She was a wonderful person - an exceptional human being and a wonderful nurse and a wonderful mother," said Nancy Pemberton, a hospital nursing supervisor.

Woolfolk, a mother of two sons, was a real estate broker and ran a business called Mortgages, Etc. with her mother. "She was just a loving person who would help anybody," her father Melvin Woolfolk said. "Nobody deserved what happened."

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The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.