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One victim dies, woman charged in Schaumburg hotel shooting
By Ashok Selvam and Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

Kristian G. Branch after her arrest Tuesday in Schaumburg.


Kristian Branch


A Schaumburg Police investigator can been seen through the window of a hotel room at Homestead Studio Suites at Roselle Road and State Parkway, where a shooting took place earlier today.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

Schaumburg Police investigate a shooting at the Homestead Studio Suites hotel.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

Schaumburg Police investigate a shooting at the Homestead Studio Suites hotel at Roselle Road and State Parkway.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

A window screen is torn on a third-floor room at the Homestead Studio Suites hotel at Roselle Road and State Parkway in Schaumburg.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

Schaumburg police are investigating a shooting that left two people in the hospital early Tuesday morning.


Mark Black | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/16/2010 6:56 AM | Updated: 3/17/2010 8:49 AM

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One man died and another was injured after they fired guns at each other inside a Schaumburg hotel room early Tuesday morning.

A 28-year-old Elgin woman has been charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the shootings, which began as an attempted armed robbery, police said.

Kristian G. Branch, of the 300 block of West Chicago Street, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and three counts of attempted armed robbery, the state's attorney's office said.

Schaumburg police said Branch and an accomplice, Mario C. Charles, were trying to rob four people they knew who were staying at the Homestead Studio Suites Hotel, 51 E. State Parkway.

Police said Charles, who was armed with a handgun, and Branch entered the hotel room before 1:20 a.m. A 26-year-old man from Minnesota inside the room also pulled a gun, and the two men shot at each other, police said.

When police arrived they found Charles with Branch outside the hotel's north doors, while the 26-year-old was inside the hotel room.

Charles, 29, of Rockford, was shot multiple times and died around 7:21 a.m. Tuesday at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The 26-year-old was shot once, Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebl said. He's also at Lutheran General, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Branch was charged with murder even though she didn't fire a gun because Charles' death happened in the midst of a felony, authorities said.

She is expected in bond court Wednesday morning in Rolling Meadows. Further charges could be pending, police said.

Nebl said everyone who was in the hotel room has been accounted for and they are being interviewed. Besides the wounded 26-year-old, a male and female from Minnesota and a 27-year-old female from Pearl River, LA. were in the room, police said. The Louisiana woman had an outstanding bond forfeiture warrant for arrest from Schaumburg police, Nebl added.

Wednesday will be Branch's second appearance within seven days in Rolling Meadows court. Cook County sheriff's police arrested her on March 11 along with 13 others as part of a prostitution sting at an unnamed Schaumburg hotel.

Her criminal history also includes a 2008 charge of selling cocaine to an undercover officer in Elgin. In 2006, she and a friend were charged with robbery, for taking $50 from a man at an Elgin gas station.

Branch pleaded guilty, was given probation and ordered to pay the $50 back. In 2004 she was stopped by police and accused of throwing a bottle of whiskey in the early morning hours in East Dundee. At the time she was wanted on a warrant out of Missouri for a parole violation. In court she said she would return to Missouri, but it's unclear if she ever did.

A person answering the phone at Homestead Suites declined to comment on Tuesday's shootings.

This is the second shooting in Schaumburg in eight days. Three children were shot on March 10, victims of a drive-by. All are recovering.

Tuesday's shooting is unrelated and was confined to the hotel room, police said.

• Staff Writer Barbara Vitello contributed to this report.