By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
What’s behind the alarming trend of violence in HOA-governed communities?
This Saturday, the news of a mass shooting in a Chicago condo complex shocked residents of the quiet Dunning neighborhood. Here’s what IAC has learned from various local reports of the horrific incident, which left 5 people dead.
The shooter, a former condo association President, has a history of “anger issues”
Chicago Police Department have arrested Krysztof Marek, 66, on five felony counts of first degree murder. Authorities say Marek had no prior criminal history in Cook County.
The shooting incident occurred about 5:30 PM Saturday, at 6733 West Irving Park.
Marek surrendered himself to police within minutes of their arrival on the scene on Saturday evening. According to investigators, Marek admitted to using a 0.40 caliber handgun to attack five of his neighbors in their homes. He led police to the firearm, which he had placed on the coffee table in his apartment, immediately following his rampage.
CPD First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio is assigned to the investigation.
Marek reportedly resided at the condo complex in the Dunning neighborhood for 15 years. Homeowners say he once served condo association president. During that time, condo owners accused Marek of mismanaging the association.
Multiple residents, most who would not appear on camera, reported that Marek had anger management issues.
The victims knew Marek, but don’t know why they were targeted
Marek shot four family members, as they sat down to eat dinner at their kitchen table in Apartment 2D. The victims have been identified as:
Kostadinova Tsvetanka and her husband, Ivaylo Popov, both 43, Popov’s mother, Iskra Pourel-Popova, 65, and her boyfriend, David Hanik, 61. All four of the victims died instantly from gunshot wounds.
According to Investigators, after the shooting in Apartment 2D, Marek went upstairs to apartment 3C, and shot Jolanta Topolski, 53, in the abdomen. Topolski tried to run away from Marek. But Marek chased the woman, then shot her a second time in the back of the head. Topolski was taken to a local hospital, but died from her injuries on Sunday.
A 21-year-old man from unit 2D survived the shooting but reportedly “lost a complete family.” Victim’s advocate Andrew Holmes, identified the four people killed as the young man’s mother, step father, grandmother and step grandfather.
Residents told WGN9 that police were called to the complex two-months ago. They claim Marek had hit the son of one of the female victims. No charges were filed.
What were the motives for the shooting?
The Chicago Tribune reports that criminal investigators found two “chilling” written notes in Marek’s condo unit, which read as follows:
“No Mercy!!! Remember
Whatever s— they do to you
You control it yourself not them!!
They have to pay for it!!”
“Tomorrow!! No Mercy
Without any stupid hesitation!!!
Remember who you are!!
Remember what this piece of s— is doing to you!!
According to a report by WGN9, a “property manager of the condo building said the suspect may have been under financial pressure and facing foreclosure, saying he’d had tense interactions with other neighbors in recent days.”
Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy reportedly told Chicago Tribune that Marek was facing foreclosure and eviction from his home, due to his failure to pay his mortgage and his condo association fees.
The Chicago Tribune also reports that, according to Cook County records, Marek declared bankruptcy in September 2017. At the time, he owed more than $20,000 to the IRS and more than $60,000 to creditors. In November of 2017, Marek received a foreclosure notice on his condo.
Murphy believes all of these factors were motives behind Marek’s violent attack.
Charges filed, no bond
Asst. State’s Attorney James Murphy says Marek admitted to the shooting. He turned himself into Chicago Police when they responded to emergency calls.
Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr, who filed charges against Marek, reportedly characterized the event as “evil on steroids.” Marek is held without bond in Cook County jail.
What role did condo conflicts play in Marek’s attack?
Early reports and statements made by the Prosecutor in this case reveal a connection to Marek’s anger over his pending foreclosure, in part, due to nonpayment of condo association fees.
Marek’s history as condo association President, and homeowner accusations of mismanagement, apparently also led to anger and animosity toward his neighbors.
We also know from public records of the bankruptcy that Marek had deep financial difficulties. We know that he owed money to many different people.
Witness accounts hint that Marek had anger management issues before he served as condo board President. Residents say Marek resented criticism from his fellow condo owners.
Unfortunately, sometimes angry, unethical, or emotionally unbalanced people end up on condo association boards, mostly because few homeowners have the time, or want the added responsibility.
And all too often, board members with financial problems target condos and HOAs for theft and embezzlement.
What really happened in this Dunning community?
Were condo owner accusations of mismanagement by Marek valid concerns? Or was this simply a case of neighbors not appreciating his sincere efforts to manage the community association?
What were the circumstances behind Marek’s foreclosure and eviction notices? Was Marek a deserving deadbeat? Or was the current condo board and management team abusing their power?
Maybe it was a little bit of both?
Some of these questions may be answered at Marek’s trial. Prosecuting and defense attorneys cannot avoid taking a closer look at personal and management relationships in the condominium complex.
However, whatever the motives behind Marek’s cold-blooded attack on his neighbors, no amount of anger can justify the deliberate act of taking 5 human lives. ♦
Mass shooting in Chicago condo leaves 5 neighbors dead: “The guy has anger issues”
OCTOBER 14, 2019 / 8:20 AM / CBS NEWS
Man loses entire family when neighbor shoots, kills 5 in Northwest Side condo building
POSTED 4:40 PM, OCTOBER 13, 2019, BY WGN WEB DESK, MIKE LOWE AND MEGHAN DWYER, UPDATED AT 04:42AM, OCTOBER 14, 2019 | WGN9
By MEGAN CREPEAU and KATHERINE ROSENBERG-DOUGLAS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE |
OCT 14, 2019 | 3:10 PM
No bond for man charged with murdering 5 neighbors in Northwest Side condo building
POSTED 8:21 AM, OCTOBER 14, 2019, BY MIKE LOWE AND JUDY WANG, UPDATED AT 02:07PM, OCTOBER 14, 2019 | WGN9