WEST LOOP — A group of movers may have saved a woman's life Thursday by helping her hide in their truck while her armed ex looked for her at the West Loop dental office where she worked.
The incident happened just before 11 a.m. at Skyline Smiles, 1017 W. Madison St., according to a law enforcement source and witnesses. A man entered the location looking for his ex-girlfriend before fatally shooting himself outside, said Officer Laura Amezaga, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
Listen to Stephanie Lulay describe the heroic efforts to hide the woman.
The man has been identified as Clint Engle, 40, of suburban Plainfield, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Engle may have stolen a firearm from a Plainfield home earlier Thursday, suburban police said.
A three-man moving crew working in the West Loop Thursday was unloading furniture in the alley when a frantic woman came running from the back of the dental office.
"The girl came running up to us. She was yelling, 'Let me get your phone! Let me get your phone!" said Josh Lara, one of the movers. "She said 'someone's shooting!'"
"She knew she was being looked for the way she was hiding," said Mike Zaininger, one of the movers, who was working with his friend Cody Grant.
The three immediately took the woman into the back of the truck and later moved her to an apartment nearby, harboring her from the gunman.
"Our immediate reaction was 'get in the truck,'" Zaininger said.
Bob Meyers, who lives on Rundell Place near the rear of the dentist office, saw a dentist or dental assistant run down the alleyway with his patient, still smocked with a dental bib, running behind him.
Witnesses then saw a man dressed in jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt exit the rear of the building with the gun at his side. A woman who was not the ex-girlfriend exited the building, too, standing about a yard away from the gunman, Meyers said. Multiple witnesses called 911.
"As I was [calling 911], I heard a gunshot and the woman started screaming and ran away from where the gentleman fell," Meyers said.
Lara, the mover, went back out to the alley and heard a loud scream and gunshot.
"Later, we found out that the guy went out into the alley looking for her," Lara said.
Lara said a police officer told the three men employed by Wisdom Moving that they saved the woman's life.
"It was just our instinct to try and protect and help her," Lara said.
After police arrived, the woman told the men that she worked at the dental office and saw the man enter the front door, "pulling out something," which witnesses said was a gun. She immediately ran out the back door.
Witnesses said the man shot himself in the head with a shotgun after bringing the gun into the dental office, where patients were waiting for appointments. No other injuries were reported.
One patient said he was in the dentist's chair when the dentist entered the room frantically and told them they needed to leave. They left out the back, he said.
On Thursday night, Skyline Smiles dentist Dr. Deepak Neduvelil said his staff was trying to focus on healing.
"It was a truly traumatic thing that happened...We are really just trying to cope, and are so thankful that we are safe," he said.
Skyline Smiles is near a popular West Loop Starbucks and lauded restaurant Monteverde.
A 40-year-old man shot himself outside a West Loop dentist's office Thursday morning. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]
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