Mayor John Thornton of Washington Park, IL Shot Dead at 52
John Thornton, the Mayor of Washington Park, Illinois, was found dead in his car Thursday morning from 2 point-blank gunshots to the chest.
Thornton, 52, was found inside his vehicle, which had crashed into a tree in the 4700 block of Caseyville Avenue. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead around 6:00 a.m.
Whoever done it, just come forward and turn yourself in, so we can bring closure to the family,” said his son, John Thornton, Jr. “And what I want them to understand is that, they took a great leader, a great father and a great husband.
Hitchhiker a Suspect
Detective Kim McAfee said Thornton picked up someone around 5:30 a.m. on the way home after working late.
Thornton was known to help people on the street, but the pedestrian is now the alleged suspect who shot him inside his car before it veered off the road. The suspect reportedly got out of the vehicle and into a red Chevrolet with a getaway driver behind the wheel.
The driver has been apprehended, but the gunman is still at large. Police believe the gunman attempted to rob Thornton. The mayor’s vehicle had an on-board computer, which police hope will lead them to the shooter.
Thornton leaves behind his wife, 6 children and at least 10 grandchildren.
Washington Park Known for Poverty, Strip Clubs
The poor community of Washington Park, located close to St. Louis, Missouri, relies on strip clubs as a source of income. One of the clubs is owned by Larry Flynt, creator of Hustler.
In the 2000 census, the town’s population was reported as 5,345. About 44.8% of the population is below the poverty line and the median household income is $21,132.
Last July, Washington Park filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It cited less than $50,000 in assets and a debt of more than $1 million.