CHICAGO – A gruesome Chicago stabbing scene littered with Satanic symbols could be linked by a car to the ambush of a sheriff's deputy and standoff in a rural bank in central Illinois, Chicago police said Friday.
Two men in custody for Thursday's crime spree near an Amish community in Illinois farm country used a car that was owned by a 40-year-old man whose body was found stabbed to death in a home early Thursday morning, Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.
"There were satanic messages and paraphernalia at the crime scene," she said.
The police department dispatched detectives to Arcola, about 150 miles south of Chicago, Bond said.
The two men arrested in Arcola — accused of shooting a sheriff's deputy before one of the men stormed into a rural bank and took five hostages — remained in custody on Friday while prosecutors and law enforcement officials discussed what charges to file against them.
Both are convicted felons and Chicago residents, according to State Police Sgt. Bill Emery.
The spree began during a midmorning traffic stop Thursday when the suspects sped off after a drug-sniffing dog was brought in to search the car they were in, Emery said.
The men allegedly robbed a house a few miles from there, ditched their car and stole a van, he said.
When the sheriff's deputy, Tommy Martin, pulled the van over shortly afterward, he was shot in the face and torso, Emery said. Martin radioed for help and authorities chased the van at speeds of over 100 mph, with the suspects firing at them, before the driver lost control of the van as it careered over railroad tracks, and the suspects abandoned it, Emery said.
One suspect was taken into custody. The other fled into the bank.
"He was in, and he said, 'Get down,' and we saw the gun," Terri Cherry, a teller at the bank who was one of the hostages, said Friday.
"We were all in shock," said Cherry, who was released after about 20 minutes.
In all, the gunman released four hostages over seven hours. After speaking with an FBI hostage negotiator, the suspect peacefully left the bank with the remaining hostage, Emery said.
Martin remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.
No one was in custody in connection with the stabbing of the Chicago man, identified by Chicago police as Arnie Graves. His body was found, police said, after his family requested a well-being check.
The numbers 666, associated with the Antichrist, were found at the scene, said Bond, but she did not elaborate.
Chicago police stressed their role in the investigation was in its early stages. They wouldn't discuss whether they believe the Chicago victim knew or had a link to the two men caught in Arcola.
"The only link right now that we can establish is the link of the vehicle that was found in Arcola being linked to the victim," First Deputy Superintendent Dana Starks said during a news conference at police headquarters.
At the South Side apartment were Graves lived, neighbor Bob Harper, 45, said Graves was, "a nice guy, friendly, and everybody liked him."
Graves was also obviously fond of his car, Harper said, recalling how the sight of him washing it in the alley behind the building would draw gentle ribbing from neighbors, who would joke that he ought to wash their cars, too.