A landlord who became “very upset” toward a man about rental property and gunned him down in a hail of bullets at a gas station in Chicago Heights this week was charged with murder, police said tonight.
Dennis Joyner, 60, of south suburban Park Forest, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Robert Fortson, who was shot dead Tuesday morning at a Mobil gas station in the 400 block of West 14th Street, according to Chicago Heights Police Lt. Joe Petrarca.
An autopsy determined Fortson, 40, died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Fortson, of the 1900 block of Circle Court in Chicago Heights, was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday at St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Chicago Heights, according to the medical examiner's office.
Joyner appeared fore a bond hearing today at the Markham Courthouse where a judge denied to set bail, according to the Cook County sheriff's office. Joyner is expected to appear for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 3.
“Fortson and the suspect had a problem with each other over some rental property which the suspect owned,’’ Petrarca said. “Joyner was apparently very upset toward the victim.’’
It was not clear what the issue about the property was, according to Petrarca.
Mobil station owner Mike Husain, who described the shooting that day as being “like something out of a movie,’’ said the gunman chased the victim out of the station and kept firing even after he’d collapsed in the parking lot.
The shooter then went back inside and "waited until the police came to arrest him,’’ Husain said.
Petrarca said police were called to the station at about 10:58 a.m. for a shooting victim and found Fortson lying in the parking lot.
Husain said he wasn't there, but watched the shooting unfold on video surveillance taken at the scene, where both men had been customers.
“The shooter was buying a newspaper and paying for his gas,’’ Husain said.
When Fortson walked in, the men began arguing and something enraged the gunman, who appeared to be dressed in a security guard’s uniform.
“So he was buying stuff and the victim walked in and when he saw him, they started arguing and the victim tried to run away and he chased him outside into the parking lot,’’ Husain said.
Husain said the gunman shot Fortson in the back and then “emptied his gun’’ into the victim as he was on the ground.
“He kept shooting,’’ Husain said.
Terrified customers and workers ran out of the crowded 6,000-square-foot building, which also houses a Dunkin’ Donuts and a restaurant, but the shooter came back inside.
“He then waited in the front door of the business and then walked inside the store and was waiting at the counter until the police got there,’’ Husain said. “Everybody was so scared.’’
Police arrived and the shooter “gave himself up’’ and he was placed into custody, Husain said.
“I’m glad he was arrested,’’ according to Husain, who said the businesses were opened back up about 6 p.m. that day.
Husain, who has owned the station since 2009, said he’s never had something like this happen before and acknowledged that though the neighborhood can be “rough,’’ residents are “really nice.’’
Husain said the ordeal left him with an eerie feeling as it happened in broad daylight and on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The owner said the slaying seemed like "something out of a movie ... but today I saw it in real life.’’