Daily Herald

Woman shoots husband, kids

By Deborah Kadin, Daily Herald Staff Writer
Chicago Daily Herald
Posted on December 26, 2002

A 41-year-old Aurora mother shot and killed her husband Christmas morning in their home and then shot her two daughters multiple times -- even while the younger one was calling 911 -- before shooting herself.

No one knew Wednesday what made Sungnam Lisowski shoot her husband, John, once in the back of the head shortly before 8 a.m. and then turn on her 14- and 12-year-old daughters before twice wounding herself in the chest.

Aurora police, however, said there is no doubt that's what happened, even though they said they had not yet interviewed Sungnam Lisowski. No charges were filed Wednesday evening.

Sungnam, reportedly a shop owner in Naperville, was in surgery and in serious but stable condition Wednesday night at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, a hospital spokesman said.

First, police said, she killed John Lisowski on the first floor of their home at 1429 Greenlake Drive in the high-end Stonebridge subdivision on Aurora's far east side. Police offered no motive Wednesday but said that an argument preceded the shooting.

After killing her husband, who is a 46-year-old employee at Lucent Technologies, Sungnam went to an upstairs bedroom where she shot 14-year-old Vickie five times, police said.

Vickie, a freshman at Waubonsie Valley High School who neighbors said is well-liked for her baby-sitting skills, was in serious but stable condition Wednesday night at Rush Copley Medical Center.

Twelve-year-old Christine, who neighbors said is a seventh-grader at Thayer Hill Middle School, was shot three times, all as she was on a telephone upstairs talking to a 911 operator, law enforcement authorities said.

Christine had surgery Wednesday at Provena Mercy Center Hospital and then was airlifted to Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago. She was in critical condition Wednesday night.

Police responded quickly to the 911 call, arriving at the house even as shots were still being fired inside, Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.

Police forced their way inside and found John Lisowski dead.

Moments later, they heard more gunshots from the second floor. Running upstairs they found Vickie and Christine Lisowski shot in an upstairs bedroom and Sungnam Lisowski shot in another bedroom. Police found a handgun with her there.

There appeared to be no signs of struggle in the house, authorities said. Nor was there any note found explaining the rampage.

Police would not say whether they had ever been called to the home previously for domestic disturbances.

Neighbors were upset and unsettled by the shootings. Police cordoned off the entire block with yellow police tape for much of the day.

Jim Donelson, whose home reaches the Lisowskis' backyard, said his wife saw a flash of light and then a police officer, gun drawn, leaned up on the north side of the house, looking around the corner.

"You read about this in the paper, but you never expect to have to live this in back of your house," he said.

Homeowners described the community as the white-picket fence type, close-knit neighborhood of kids and block parties. They said the Lisowskis had returned to the Aurora neighborhood earlier this year after living in the Far East.

They rented the home to another family in their absence and had just returned from Australia this summer.

When they came back, Lynda Moresco, who lives across the street, took over cookies and a card to welcome them. Sungnam, Vickie and Christine walked over to the house to thank her and Moresco said she found Sungnam to be very pleasant.

Vickie occasionally was recruited as a sitter, and Moresco said the girl is mature for her age, very nice and very responsible. Moresco said Vickie helped both her children with her homework, and read and played with them.

"My children love her," Moresco said of Vickie. "She is a wonderful, caring young lady. It's a very sad Christmas."

Other people in the neighborhood said the family kept pretty much to themselves. They said they didn't see much of the family in recent months.

Chris Bertschy was stirring around in his house, which is two homes away from the Lisowskis', while his family opened Christmas presents when he saw a number of police outside.

Nearly an hour later, an officer told him what happened.

"Something like this just doesn't happen in Stonebridge," he said. "But it teaches us that this kind of domestic violence can happen anywhere."

Daily Herald staff writers Rhonda Sciarra and Sara Burnett contributed to this report.

Copyright Daily Herald,Paddock Publications, Inc.