Fatal Shooting Apparently Sparked By Eviction

Bond Denied 67-Year-Old Franklin Park Man


POSTED: July 15, 2004


Bond was denied Wednesday for a 67-year-old Franklin Park man accused of fatally shooting an elderly member of the board of his condominium association that had evicted him, and critically wounding a woman who was with her.


Maywood Judge John D. Tourtelot refused to set bond for Zdzislaw Kuchlewski when the defendant appeared in court charged in the Tuesday night slaying of Rita Hohmeier, 75, Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman Tom Stanton said.


Kuchlewski, of 9146 W. Grand Ave., was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, Stanton said.


Krecker said that Hohmeier was the secretary for the board of the condo association, and because she was the person who filed the eviction paperwork with the court, Kuchlewski targeted her.


He had not paid his monthly fees, which took care of maintenance for such things as lawn care and garbage disposal, and was evicted Tuesday, Krecker said.


He said that Kuchlewski, after discovering his belongings strewn across the front lawn and a neighboring back yard, became upset and waited for Hohmeier to return home.


When she returned home with another woman, Kuchlewski fatally shot her and wounded her companion, Krecker said.


Hohmeier was hit at least three times and the other woman twice, Krecker said.


The second victim, a woman in her 60s from Northlake whose name was not released pending family notification, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where her vital signs were stable, Krecker said he was told by hospital officcials.


The woman was "still alive" but it was "questionable last night" as to whether she would survive, Petersen said at 9:15 a.m. He could not provide a condition update for the woman.


The woman apparently had assisted Hohmeier at home because Hohmeier had health problems, the chief said.


After firing at least five shots, Kuchlewski put his gun down and waited for police to arrive. When they came, he calmly surrendered, Krecker said.


Kuchlewski was scheduled to appear for a bond hearing in Maybrook Court at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Krecker said.


The shooting happened at 6:52 p.m. Tuesday, said Franklin Park Police Chief Randy Petersen.


Kuchlewski apparently had been waiting several hours for Hohmeier and her companion to return, Petersen said.


Hohmeier and her companion exited a vehicle in the parking lot and Kuchlewski then got out of his vehicle, Petersen said.


"There was a confrontation with some yelling," and two residents called police and said "there looked like there was going to be a fight in the lot," he said.


The residents called police back "within seconds" and said shots had been fired, Petersen said.


Police arrived "within a minute or two" and arrested Kuchlewski "on the sidewalk by the street," he said, and added a .380-caliber automatic pistol was seized.


"We had a big language barrier" while talking to Kuchlewski, Petersen said. A police officer, possibly from Norridge, was called in to serve as an interpreter, he said.


Kuchlewski owed about $4,000 in monthly fees to the condominium association, Petersen said.


Kuchlewski apparently lived alone, had no known criminal record and had a firearm owner's identification card, Petersen said.


Hohmeier was "a longtime resident of the community and the building," he said.