Witnesses, video led to murder charge in Oak Brook tollway shooting
Law enforcement officials say it was a combination of eyewitness accounts and video surveillance technology that allowed them to quickly focus their attention on Anthony Tillmon as the prime suspect in Friday's shooting death of a truck driver on the Reagan Tollway in Oak Brook.
State police Capt. Robert Meeder said several drivers who said they saw the shooting pulled to the shoulder of the road Friday to talk with troopers. Several others called in tips after seeing media reports of the shooting.
All those witnesses gave similar descriptions of Tillmon and the bright green safety vest or jacket he was wearing when he raised his right arm and opened fire, authorities said.
That information, along with witnesses' descriptions of the tow truck Tillmon was driving, allowed police to review video from the tollway and compare it to the GPS device and I-PASS transponder in his truck.
Now Tillmon, 34, of Lansing, is charged with first-degree murder and is being held on $3 million bail in DuPage County jail.
He turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday and appeared Wednesday morning in DuPage bond court wearing a yellow jumpsuit and slippers.
"The public has a right to travel safely on our roads, our expressways and our tollways," DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin said after the hearing. "Drive-by shootings not only endanger the intended victim but put many innocent motorists and passengers at great risk for bodily harm."
Tillmon is accused of shooting Eduardo Munoz, 43, most recently of Northlake, who was driving a semitrailer truck east on I-88 during the afternoon rush hour at mile marker 138.5 near York Road.
Witnesses said Tillmon, a tow-truck driver for Calumet City's Wes's Service, and Munoz both were driving aggressively and were flailing their arms at each other, authorities said.
Tillmon then fired multiple shots, authorities said, hitting Munoz three times.
Prosecutors said they don't know what led to the confrontation; Tillmon has not talked to police.
Munoz was able to pull over and call 911. He was taken to Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, where he died.
"The loss of life through violence is never acceptable," Meeder, commander of Illinois State Police District 15, said during a Wednesday news conference.
Prosecutors said tollway video and I-PASS records show the two trucks near each other at the time of the shooting. The tow truck's GPS device also placed the truck assigned to Tillmon at the scene.
After the shooting, authorities said, Tillmon drove to a Wal-Mart in Lansing, where video shows him parking his truck in a remote location and his girlfriend picking him up in a red Jeep.
Assistant State's Attorney Jim French said Tillmon's girlfriend took him to her Lansing home so he could "clean up" and then dropped him off at Wes's Towing.
Once there, he asked one of his co-workers to drive him back to Wal-Mart to pick up the tow truck. He drove the truck back to the company, got in his Dodge Charger, drove back to his girlfriend's house and then left in her Jeep.
Berlin declined to answer questions about whether the girlfriend will face charges, saying only that the case remains under investigation.
Tillmon's co-workers told authorities he was showing off a gun at work shortly before the shooting. He has no FOID card or concealed carry card.
The weapon used in the shooting has not been recovered, but Berlin said authorities found a 9 mm shell casing in the tow truck as well as a green vest with Tillmon's nickname on it.
A different gun was found in Tillmon's personal vehicle.
"Witness descriptions of the shooter matched (Tillmon) as well as a green jacket," Berlin said.
Prosecutors asked Judge Joseph Bugos to deny bail because Tillmon, if found guilty, faces between 45 years and life in prison.
"If someone crosses him while he's out on bond, we're going to have another murder in DuPage County or Illinois," French said.
Prosecutors said Tillmon has never been convicted of a crime.
Tillmon's attorney argued the case against his client is circumstantial and there was no positive identification. He asked for $100,000 bail.
If he posts the $300,300 necessary for his release, Tillmon will be ordered held to home confinement, authorities said.
His next court date is May 22.
Tillmon had worked for Wes's Service for 10 years as a tow-truck driver, the company's attorney, Rory McGinty, said Wednesday.
The company has a strict policy against employees carrying weapons while on the job, he said.
"From what I'm told, he was a good man for 10 years," McGinty said. "Came to work, did what he was supposed to do."
Tillmon was on his shift at the time of the shooting, McGinty said, and it was the last time he reported to work.
Now others at Wes's Service are struggling to make sense of what happened.
"We don't understand what we're hearing," McGinty said.
Munoz, who friends called "Lalo," moved back and forth between Florida and Illinois and most recently was living in Northlake, according to Larry Perez, the lead pastor of U-turn Covenant Church, where Munoz attended services.
A fiance, father and grandfather, Munoz drove a truck during the week and apparently was just minutes from the end of his shift when he was shot.
A memorial service is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the church, 35 E. North Ave., Northlake. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday.