A man has been charged with first-degree murder for killing his wife and three adult daughters in a Tinley Park home over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday morning.
According to the Tinley Park Police Department, Maher Kassem, 63, of 7430 W. 173rd Place in Tinley Park, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder “arising from a domestic incident” that occurred at the home where Maher and his family lived.
The shooting happened at 11:20 a.m. Sunday. Four women were injured in the incident and all were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, the victims were identified as Majeda Kassem, 53, and her adult daughters: Halema, 25, Zahia, 25, and Hanan, 24.
In a news release Tuesday, police said Maher fatally shot his wife and three adult daughters during a verbal argument. Shortly after the shooting, Maher contacted police and said someone had been shot.
Maher was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Tinley Park Police Department.
At Monday’s news conference, Tinley Park Mayor Michael W. Glotz called the killings a “senseless” act of domestic violence.
“Words cannot describe how deeply saddened I am by this horrible tragedy,” Glotz said. “A mother and her two daughters are missing. Murdered in a senseless act of domestic violence.”
Glotz went on to say that responding officers were receiving mental health resources after responding to the scene Sunday morning.
“It’s difficult to deal with a senseless tragedy like this,” Glotz said, “especially for the first responders who are called to deal with this situation while everything is unfolding.”
At the news conference, Tinley Park Police Chief Tom Tilton called the investigation “very complex” and declined to provide further details about the suspect’s 911 call or the relationship of the suspect with the victims.
“We don’t want to say anything that could negatively impact the investigation or the decision to charge,” Tilton said.
Tilton also said that this weapon was recovered at the scene, although he did not specify what type.
“I’d rather not do it right now,” Tilton said.
According to Tilton, the Tinley Park Police Department had no history of calls to the home.
According to Pam Kostecki, executive director of the Crisis Center for South Suburban Tinley Park, an incident of “domestic violence” occurs when “people within a household lose their lives to another member of the household.” .
“That’s what domestic violence is, when violence happens within a household,” Kostecki said during the update. “Whether or not they are related to each other.”
Itedal Shalabi, co-founder and executive director of Arab-American Family Services, added that the family is of Arab and Palestinian descent.
“They are Muslims,” Shalabi said. “At this point, it has nothing to do with Islam or any other religion,” Shalabi said. “It’s about power and control. It’s about gender-based violence. It’s about one person’s power over other members of the family.”
Charlotte Vaitkus, who lives near the victims, said she had known the victims for 15 years through her daughter.
“We’re still in shock a few hours later. I can’t believe this happened a block from my house and to people we knew,” she said.