By the time the woman reached the men who were unloading furniture in an alley, she was frantic.
She had appeared from the back of a dental office on Chicago’s Near West Side on Thursday morning, the three men told DNAinfo Chicago.
Somewhere inside the office, a man with a gun was hunting for her, DNAinfo reported.
“The girl came running up to us,” Josh Lara, one of the furniture movers, told the news outlet. “She, was yelling, ‘Let me get your phone! Let me get your phone!’
“She said, ‘Someone’s shooting!’ ”
That someone would turn out to be the woman’s ex-boyfriend.
Police later identified the man as Clint Engle, 40, of Plainfield, Illinois, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The woman knew her life was in danger, the three men said.
“She knew she was being looked for, the way she was hiding,” Mike Zaininger, another one of the movers, told DNAinfo. “Our immediate reaction was, ‘Get in the truck.’ ”
It was a simple act that may have saved the woman’s life, police said.
After hiding the woman in their moving truck, the men ended up taking her to their customer’s apartment in a nearby building, they told ABC affiliate WLS.
Later, Lara told the station, they learned that the gunman had entered the alley looking for her.
“The cop pulled up next to us and said ‘Hey, you are the ones that saved her life,’” Cody Grant, one of the movers, told WLS. “That was the girl he was looking for. He didn’t find her, so he took his own life.”
Police said Engle was pronounced dead just before 3 p.m., the Sun-Times reported.
His body was found in the alley behind the dental office.
Engle entered Skyline Smiles just before 11 a.m., police said.
Police said the dental office was calm before Engle entered and began waving a gun, DNAinfo reported.
“I am sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth looked at, and the dentist just coming in and introducing himself, and all of sudden he says, ‘Come with me,’ and ‘Get out here,’” Greg Matoesian, a patient, told the station.
Matoesian said he saw the gunman holding a “small assault rifle” before hearing a shot. At that point, he added, he “just took off.”
Dentist Deepak Neduvelil, the owner of Skyline Smiles, told WLS that he thinks Engle was trying to kill his ex-girlfriend, who works as the clinic’s office manager.
The woman ran out of the clinic’s back door as soon as she saw Engle arrive and retrieve something that witnesses later described as a gun, DNAinfo reported.
“Luckily, you know, that didn’t happen,” Neduvelil said, “Luckily, she was able to get out of there, and we are happy that she is safe.”
Authorities said nobody else was injured during the incident.
Police are investigating whether the gun Engle brought into the dental office had been stolen from a home in Plainfield, Ill., earlier in the day, DNAinfo reported.
In 2002, the Joliet Herald-News reported, Engle was convicted of home invasion and aggravated battery after attacking his ex-girlfriend’s sleeping father with a golf club. He served more than a decade in prison, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
“Engle was angry because he believed that the father would not allow him to date the daughter,” according to court records city by DNAinfo. “During the beating, Engle reportedly told the father, ‘You’re going to die for not letting me go out with your daughter.’”
“The victim’s head injuries required more than 50 staples, police said at the time,” the news outlet reported.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Peter Holley
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