Delena Croom, a 24-year-old Joliet woman, called the police on Saturday to report her computer, Social Security card and birth certificate stolen. She knew who did it, too: her wayward boyfriend Darrell Richardson, the father of her 16-month-old daughter.
Richardson had apparently told her he'd stolen the items, and demanded more sex and visitations with their daughter in exchange for returning them. Croom, when she spoke to the police, wasn't having it.
Early Tuesday morning, the dispute took a horrific turn. Richardson argued with Croom over the computer in her living room. Shortly before 1 a.m., he drew a .38-caliber revolver and shot his girlfriend in the head, before turning the weapon on himself.
Three children -- the 16-month-old, Croom's nine-year-old son and an eight-year-old friend who was sleeping over -- watched the grisly murder-suicide.
Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes, who spoke to TribLocal, concluded on this note: "I can't imagine what these kids are going through, to see their mother gunned down before their eyes. Our concern has been for the children."
They are currently in protective police custody, according to WJOL news radio. Immediately after the shooting, they were taken to Provena Saint Jospeh Medical Center as a precaution; now, authorities are searching for relatives to take them in.
Richardson, also 24, was originally from the Chicago area. The Herald-News reports that authorities are still looking into how and when he obtained the murder weapon. "This is still a developing investigation," Hayes said.