Wrongful death lawsuit filed nearly a year after DuPage County mass shooting

The fiancee of a man who was shot to death last year in an unincorporated area near Willowbrook is suing two stores in the strip mall where the mass shooting happened.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Thursday in DuPage County Circuit Court, lists Five Star Pantry and BCD Liquors as defendants. Both businesses are in the Somerset Plaza, near Route 83 and Honeysuckle Lane.

Reginald Meadows, who was engaged to Ashley Miller, died on June 18, 2023, during the shooting that also injured more than 20 people.

Meadows and Miller were among hundreds of people who had gathered on June 17 in the parking lot for a Juneteenth celebration that organizers promoted on social media. The gunfire erupted around 12:25 a.m. on June 18.

According to the lawsuit, Five Star Pantry and BCD Liquors stayed open past their regular closing time of 11 p.m. that Saturday and did not close until after gunshots rang out.

“Both stores were allowing Juneteenth celebrators to purchase various items, including alcoholic beverages, after hours and despite the crowd becoming larger and more violent,” the lawsuit states. “Five Star Pantry and BCD Liquors invited the participants into their business after normal business hours and in doing so, contributed to the shooting that occurred later that evening.”

Attempts to reach the owners of either store were unsuccessful on Friday.

The lawsuit also names DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, DuPage County and the villages of Burr Ridge and Willowbrook as respondents in discovery.

According to the lawsuit, attorneys for Miller believe the sheriff, county and villages have information essential to the lawsuit. The attorneys are requesting that information.

  Five Star Pantry is one of two named defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday. John Starks/

Meadows’ brother, Darren Meadows, said his family has not yet been allowed to see police reports about the shooting.

No one has been charged in Reginald Meadows’ death. In October, however, authorities charged Anthony Mothershed in connection with the shooting. The Aurora man was charged with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

On Friday, a spokesman for the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office pointed to an October court order from the Mothershed case that bars authorities from releasing any reports from the shooting. The order states that releasing any reports would “jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.”

Officials from Burr Ridge and Willowbrook said they had not yet seen copies of the wrongful death lawsuit and declined to comment about it.

“We deeply respect the gravity of this tragedy, and our thoughts continue to be with the affected families,” Willowbrook Village Administrator Sean Halloran said.

In the lawsuit, Miller’s attorney outlined a pattern of disturbances — including four specific incidents — at the strip mall parking lot, also known as “The Plex.”

According to the lawsuit, police responded to at least four violent incidents in the parking lot between Oct. 21, 2021 and Dec. 10, 2022. Two of the incidents involved a suspect with a weapon, and another involved a gathering of more than 100 people in the parking lot.

The lawsuit says that prior Juneteenth celebrations, held in 2021 and 2022 in the same parking lot, led to violence and other disturbances.

Minutes before the June 18 shooting, authorities received a 911 call from someone at the celebration around 12:22 a.m. According to the lawsuit, someone was screaming “rape” and “help” and told the dispatcher there were more than 400 people in the parking lot.

Victims reported seeing masked men standing in front of the two stores and a fight outside the stores, according to the lawsuit. Five of the shooting victims were reported at BCD Liquors, according to the lawsuit.

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