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Couple, son shot to death in Darien home invasion
By Christy Gutowski and Jake Griffin | Daily Herald Staff

A neighbor sets up a memorial for the three murder victims in Darien Tuesday morning.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

Neighbors comfort each other at the scene of the shooting in Darien.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

Michael Kramer

 

Lori and Jeffrey Kramer

 

Three people are dead in what is being called a home invasion in Darien early Tuesday, officials said. The three were shot to death just before 3 a.m., officials said. A fourth person alerted police while hiding in a closet.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

Darien Police Chief Robert Pavelchik talks with the media outside the home where three people were found shot to death.

 

Associated Press

Investigators at the scene of a fatal shooting on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive in Darien.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

Investigators search for clues Tuesday morning at the scene of a shooting on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive in Darien.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

Investigators at the scene of a shooting on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive in Darien.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/2/2010 6:54 AM | Updated: 3/3/2010 12:08 AM

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In a shocking crime police sources described as a "premeditated hit," a husband, wife and their son were found fatally shot Tuesday after three others in the upscale Darien home narrowly escaped with their lives.

Police arrived at the house on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive after a 3 a.m. 911 call and discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of Jeffrey Kramer, 50, his wife, Lori, 48, and their 20-year-old son, Michael.

Each suffered multiple gunshot wounds, police sources said. Forensic pathologist Jeff Harkey will conduct autopsies Wednesday.

A task force of detectives, crime-scene technicians, coroner's deputies and prosecutors hunted for clues, but no charges were imminent late Tuesday, hours after the slain couple's daughter called 911 while cowering in an upstairs closet.

Her ex-boyfriend, with whom the daughter had an ongoing civil case involving their 13-month-old son, voluntarily went to the Darien police station for questioning after the grisly discovery.

One of his attorneys, Marc Wolfe, left the police station at about 4 p.m. Tuesday without his client. But police said they do not have a suspect in custody. The 28-year-old ex-boyfriend from Willow Springs is among about 50 people detectives interviewed in the investigation's first 24 hours.

Darien Chief Robert Pavelchik said the fatal home invasion in the Tara Hill subdivision did not appear random; the family likely was targeted.

"We feel there's something more to the story and that someone wanted to hurt someone in that house," he said. "It doesn't appear there's a suspect running around the neighborhood."

The husband owned Kramer's Auto Repair & Towing in Cicero, which he took over for his father, who founded the business. Detectives interviewed several of his employees as part of the investigation.

Pavelchik said the slain couple's 25-year-old daughter, Angela Kramer, called 911 while hiding in a closet. The shootings occurred during her ex-boyfriend's scheduled visitation of their baby, court records showed.

Her older brother, Anthony, 29, was found climbing out of a window in his basement bedroom when officers arrived.

A third person, later identified as Michael Kramer's 17-year-old girlfriend, also escaped the bloodshed and fled to a neighbor's home for shelter.

The three survivors did not witness the fatal shootings, police said. None of them was physically injured.

Police said no weapon was immediately found. The attacker is believed to have gained entry through a large window that was shattered in the front of the home, the sources said. They said nothing appeared stolen from the home.

A police dog tracked a scent through the family's backyard but lost it after reaching a nearby street, the sources said. They said the killer likely had a car parked there to flee the neighborhood, just north of Interstate 55 east of Lemont Road.

Jeffrey Kramer and his son Michael, who had been sleeping on the couch for comfort after a recent surgery, were found lying in separate locations on the first floor. Officers found Lori Kramer on a stairway leading up to the second floor. They were pronounced dead on the scene.

Neighbors said the Kramers were well-liked and known for hosting Bears tailgating parties.

"Fantastic family," friend Donna Hovorka said. "You couldn't ask for better friends."

"Just real nice people," friend Matt Schuster said. "I don't see how anybody could do this to them. And Darien, a place like this, you don't think anything like this would happen."

• Daily Herald reporter Lee Filas and ABC 7 contributed to this report.