By Keith Chambers, Chicago Crusader
Her voice was soft and she was very calm. Despite losing her husband and two children in a triple murder case during the Fourth of July weekend, Erin Ross was strong enough to speak about the ordeal.
In a telephone interview with the Chicago Crusader, Ross, 33, gave a personal account of what happened in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 2. Ross’ husband, Dionus Neely, 39, and two of her children Endia, 10 and Elle, 3, were killed when bullets ripped through their home in Hazel Crest. They were all shot multiple times. Police believe it was a “targeted” killing, but Ross and relatives are frustrated by Hazel Crest police suggestions that Dionus was targeted because of his criminal background.
The shootings hit home for Ross. She doesn’t understand why someone would shoot up her house, located in the 2400 block of Crescent Drive. One thing is for certain: it was a holiday weekend that has left scars on Ross and three of her surviving children.
While many were celebrating the Fourth with barbeques, picnics and trips to beaches, Ross, the mother of four spent the time grieving and worrying about burying three of her loved ones.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete. As of Crusader press time Wednesday, July 6, $5,465 had been raised for burial costs from an account on GoFundMe.org.
During her interview with the Crusader, Ross said on Saturday, July 2, she awoke to the sound of gunfire. “I heard gunshots, but it was like I had blacked out. I couldn’t get up, “ Ross recalled.
Ross said when she went to check on some of her children in the living room, she noticed that the front door was open. She crawled to the door to close it. She said her husband looked as if he was sitting up. After she crawled to the couch where her two daughters were sleeping, she pulled them to the floor and realized that they were limp.
Dionus was declared dead at 3 a.m. at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey. At Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. Elle and Endia were pronounced dead at the same time.
“I’m in disbelief,” Ross told the Crusader. “this is unreal. I couldn’t believe that this was happening.”
The suspect(s) has not been caught and police are asking the public for leads. In news reports, a neighbor said the Neely home was shot at earlier this year. Ross told the Crusader that she didn’t notice anything strange or different days or weeks before the murders.
On Saturday, Ross said she was planning to take the family to Indiana to spend time with relatives. Although her surviving children are struggling to cope with the deaths, Ross said she has been keeping them busy and distracted with activities.
Anyone with information about the murders should call the Hazel Crest Police Department at 708-335-9640, extension 1. Citizens can help contribute funds towards the burials by going to GoFundMe.org. Type in Erin Ross in the search bar.