Retaliation Over Hinsdale South Grad's Shooting a Concern for Apartment Community

Social workers are striving to help the community come together in the wake of 18-year-old Joshua Holmes' shooting death in unincorporated Willowbrook, which they say has aroused a lot of anger.

Twenty-four hours after a fellow resident was gunned down in their apartment complex, members of the Hinsdale Lake Terrace community gathered at the site where it happened.

Stuffed animals were placed on the curb next to where 18-year-old Joshua Holmes fell after he had been shot. White paint covers the spot where the 2012 Hinsdale South graduate's blood had spilled on the pavement.

It was about 6:30 p.m. Monday when neighbors of the apartment complex heard the sound of gunshots. It was a nice night out, with temperatures in the high 60s, so dozens of young people were out enjoying the weather. The basketball court, a few hundred yards from where the shooting took place, was filled with young people shooting hoops.

According to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, witnesses saw a white four-door vehicle drive into the intersection, and a passenger pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Holmes.

"I saw his body. I drove up there. He was laying there. I saw the bullet shells," said Danny Davis, another 2012 Hinsdale South graduate. He said he had known Holmes, whose nickname was "Savage," for about a year.

"He was cool. Cool person to be around," Davis said.

Although Davis said he does not feel any less safe living there, he said the shooting has changed the way he sees things.

"My eyes have been opened," he said.

Bianca Woods, a resident and teacher at Burr Ridge Middle School, heard the gunshots and people yelling for someone to call 911.

"At first I wasn't sure if (gunshots were) what I heard," she said. "The mother wasn't there, so someone went and got her. When she got there, she was just trying to find out what happened. As they were loading him into the ambulance, she was asking the drivers, 'Where are you taking him? That's my son.'"

Woods said she drove Holmes' mother to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and was with her when she received the news that her son had died.

Residents say security is an issue

Although several of the young people gathered on the sidewalk were hugging with tears in their eyes, sadness was not the prevailing mood of the complex Tuesday night. And neither was fear.

"They're angry," said Betty Starks, a resident of the apartment complex and an Associate Pastor of the Apostolic Church of Austin. "Nobody's scared right now. It'd be better if there was a little fear. When you're scared, you don't take things into your own hands."

Starks has been a resident of Hinsdale Lake Terrace for eight years and is known by many as the unofficial mother of the complex. She said the environment of the apartment complex has changed a lot in the last year.

"It's getting worse. We don't have security...not since July," Starks said. "Something about the budget." Starks said the management at the apartment complex had been working on bringing in security again.

"Just the presence would make a difference," she said.

Holmes was shot at the apartment complex's school bus stop for Hinsdale South and Burr Ridge Middle School students.

Support personnel on site working to keep the peace

Stark's concern that anger about the crime would lead to the desire for payback within the apartment complex was a sentiment echoed by Hinsdale South community liaison Denise Verdun.

"Parents have been coming by, mainly. Parents are concerned. Some are new to the area," said Verdun. "We're just trying to keep the peace. We don't want any retaliation."

Verdun was one of the school's staff members who came to the apartment community's Resource Center to join HCS Family Services in providing support to families and young people needing to talk about what happened.

"There are a lot of of kids who have not slept at all," said Kim Stephens, program director for HCS Family Services in Hinsdale, saying that several of the children nearby when the shooting occurred were in fourth grade or younger. "They don't know how to process it."

Starks joined a group of residents gathered on the lawn next to where Holmes was shot and led them in prayer Tuesday night, encouraging the community to come together.

"We can't lose another one of you," Starks said to the young people who were present. "Let's not fight one another on this. 'Vengeance is mine,' sayeth the Lord...(The shooter) will be caught ... We refuse to let the enemy come in to take our neighborhood."

A vigil in Holmes' honor is planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday at the site where the 18-year-old was shot.

*Patch will continue to update this story as information becomes available.

**Phone calls to the management at the Hinsdale Lake Terrace apartment complex and the DuPage County Sheriff's Department were not returned at the time of this article's publication.

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Marty Kwilosz September 26, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Would hate to see this escalate.
Ali Yetgen September 26, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I live within sight of the shooting, and am very saddened by what happened. I saw the young man laying on the ground as I was coming home...This whole complex has, I believe, three different associations/owners... I know there are only 4ways to get in and out of this "subdivision". There are already security guards for hinsdale lake terrace, why not build this into a SECURE gated community? I know it isn't as easy as snapping fingers, but if the gates were there, this shooting would not have happened, and if it did, they might find the shooter more easily.
teri September 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
What security they have been gone since July
Sabrina Wu (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 05:38 PM
@teri: I'm trying to verify information that the management is working on hiring another security company for the complex. So far, no one has returned my calls, but if I receive confirmation, I'll update the article to let folks know.
Ali Yetgen September 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I used to see the security around in their golf carts...I am still for having secure entrances and exits. I live too close to the basketball courts, there are mostly no issues that I have seen...
Marty Kwilosz September 26, 2012 at 08:06 PM
There are tons of security issues over there. The few law enforcement officials from DuPage they seem to station to keep things in there not the other way around. I live right up the road and have family and loved ones who live there. Its sad to see these problems. Ali have you talked to anyone about the gates? Sabrina thank you for getting us the best info.
Sabrina Wu (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
@MartyKwilosz: You're very welcome. I'll keep working on finding out what I can.
Kayla September 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I Will Miss you Josh. I really am sorry Holmes family. I went to school with Josh when he went to seal. I thought of him as a romodel. Im in 8th grade but he was really nice. And I am still crying. I am sorry for your loss.
Betty starks September 27, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Pastor Mother I know you are going to miss your son, I can't imagine, but just remember the joy of the Lord is your strength. he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Johnny Holmes II September 28, 2012 at 04:32 AM
IamtheFather Father I know you are going to miss ur son also.... pastor??
Smh September 28, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Since the building is government subsidized. Each person over 18 has to pass a background check. The shooter was 23 with a criminal record. How did he pass the criminal background check?
Sabrina Wu (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM
@Smh: Cuellar's record in DuPage County mainly consists of traffic violations. In 2006, he was charged with weapon possession and mob action, but it appears those were misdemeanors.
Sabrina Wu (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM
@MartyKwilosz: Management has hired a security company. They started Wednesday night and will be on duty between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. seven nights a week.
Sabrina Wu (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Hinsdale Lake Terrace management has hired a new security company—Blue Star. They started Wednesday night and will be on duty between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. seven nights a week.
will Starks September 29, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Pastor Starks It was a blessing to meet Josh parents. his Dad gave a powerful speech. he encouraged my son it's a blessing, to be able to help someone else when you are going thru thank you, Mr. Holmes may God continue to bless your family.
Love is... September 29, 2012 at 03:36 AM
The vigil was wonderful tonight! Joshua's dad was hugh inspiration. It would be really big accomplishment, if we could meet like this often, at, for instance, the recreation center in the complex and continue to share the moments we shared this evening with our community . I can almost guarantee it would make a huge difference in our community, and our young people will grow spiritually, interpersonally and academically.
D. Smile September 29, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I went to the same church with both of Josh's parents, grand mother, and several aunts when they were babies. His father was very active, manly, and was a leader in the music ministry of the church. His mom, a very mild and meek individual who nurtured her children. I can still envision his mother coddling him. His Paternal Grandmother,mthe matriarch and avstaple figure inbthe church---a VERY sweet lady. His aunts and uncles, gifted singers and talanted, just fsmilynoriented people on both sides. I am saddened by this news. I pray that media outlets would take a long look at what is being said by all of these people: neighbors, teachers, friends, and parishioners., and begin to "FILTER" information "or facts they receive" with sensitivity to the VICTIM when these things happen. There is plenty of time to report "additional facts", if they must, as a trial nears or sometime after the parent(s) have at least buried their loved one. No matter how we feel about a person's former life's short comings, in deaths like Josh's, they are VICTIMS. I really believe some sensitivity training is needed for news media outlets. If they have it already, then maybe it should be revamped. Grief is hard and tragedies like this only complicates it. Why victimize a family even more by killing a loved one all over again with WORDS. In my opinion, it's almost as bad as the shooter. Think about it!
D. Smile September 29, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Please excuse the typos.....If one would compare the issue about Josh this could be used as an example of how errors can't truly define a person in a matter of seconds. I am college educated and aware, in looking back at what I wrote, that I made a few careless mistakes. I do regret the typos, and I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I wrote. Afterall, I'm just a person who set out to do something good, but messed up along the way (in my writing).
pissed September 30, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Pissed resident Sabrina their is ONE security officet that stands in the same place while on duty. he doesn't patrol the area at all! And even if Cuellar was charged with a felony it may not have been caught if he want in the lease.


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