A crew halted work Friday to let Mary Jane Crow approach the building in Palatine where eight years ago her brother and six others were massacred in a crime that remains unsolved.
Holding her husband's hand, she walked to the side of the former Brown's Chicken, where police had found the body of her 16-year-old brother, Michael Castro. Crow picked up a brick and threw it through a window."I wanted to let some pain out," said Crow, 31. "I wanted to let some feelings go."
While workers chipped away the facade, residents applauded, recalling the businesses that had failed in the building since the shootings happened on Jan. 8, 1993.
"They put a dry cleaner there, they tried a deli," said Andrew McGivern, 30, who arrived at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and snapped a few photographs. "But all you thought about was people getting killed. We're all glad it's gone."
Guido Tenuta, owner of the Eurofresh Market grocery and shopping plaza, bought the building last month. He plans to replace it with more parking for the adjacent strip mall.
The five-man demolition crew arrived just after sunrise and said a prayer near the corner of the building where the bodies where found.
Then they held their construction helmets over their hearts and offered a moment of silence for the victims: Castro, the franchise's owners, Richard Ehlenfeldt, 50, and his wife, Lynn, 49, and employees Rico Solis, 17, Guadalupe Maldonado, 46, Thomas Mennes, 32, and Marcus Nellsen, 31.
"We asked our priest to come out and say a prayer," said Ted Augoustis, general contractor for the crew. "He said it's a blessing just to make the building go away."