Man who shot 8 strangers once said he’d ‘blow up whole community’

A Chicago man who killed three people as he randomly shot eight strangers had posted a series of disturbing videos — in which he vowed to “blow up the whole community.”

Jason Nightengale, 32, appeared to randomly pick out targets Saturday as he shot dead a Chinese exchange student, a female security guard and a 20-year-old customer in a store he robbed, police said at a news briefing.

He also left at least five others critically injured, including elderly women aged 81 and 77 as well as a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head while with her mother, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said.

His bloodbath lasted almost four hours and stretched over more than 10 miles before he was shot dead in a gun battle with cops after taking a woman hostage at an IHOP in Evanston, police said.

“If not for the brave actions of [police officers], many more innocent lives would have been lost,” Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty told the Chicago Sun-Times.

While police did not reveal a motive, Nightengale had posted a series of disturbing videos in the run up to his attack, including ones where he ranted about Satan and also waved a gun, the paper said.

“I’m going to blow up the whole community,” he reportedly threatened in one post on the since-deleted account under his middle name, Oliver.

A police source confirmed to the Associated Press that the videos featured Nightengale, including one where he laughed while grooving to the Bee Gee’s hit “Staying Alive.”

One video shared on Youtube showed him mumbling as he pointed at a car, saying, “It might be this guy. I might jack his ass.”

“He was fighting some demons,” a relative, Annette Nightengale, told the Sun-Times of the father of twin girls. “He had some problems.”

Jason Nightengale
Jason Nightengale

His shooting spree started at 1:50 p.m. Saturday when he entered a garage and shot 30-year-old University of Chicago exchange student Yiran Fan dead as he sat in his car.

“This sudden and senseless loss of life causes us indescribable sorrow,” university President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee said in a statement. 

He then “just randomly” walked into a neighboring building and began firing, shooting a 77-year-old woman in the head as she got her mail and murdering a 46-year-old female security guard, shooting her in the chest at the front desk, police said.

He car-jacked a vehicle from a friend, who was spared a bullet, then robbed a convenience store where an 81-year-old was shot in the back and neck, and a 20-year-old man shot dead. 

“Just a random victim,” Brown said of the third fatality.

At 4 p.m. — more than two hours after the rampage started — he shot a 15-year-old girl in the head while she was being driven by her mother, Brown said. The teen was among those still in critical condition.

Police believe he then returned to at least one of his crime scenes, firing at responding officers and hitting a squad car, police said. No officers were hit nor were they able to return fire, Brown said.

He was finally cornered close to 6 p.m. after he took a woman hostage at an IHOP in Evanston, 10 miles north of the Windy City, sparking a gun battle with officers after he shot his hostage in the neck, police said.

“He was engaged by Evanston police officers and he was subsequently shot and killed,” Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook said during a news conference, the paper said.

“I’m not sure who fired first but it was in response to violence that he perpetrated in our town,” Cook said, praising officers who “come out here and put their life on the line every day.”

Chicago police released an October 2018 booking photo of Nightengale that was taken after he was charged with multiple driving-related offenses, including driving on a suspended license. 

His criminal record started in 2005 and included arrests for gun and drug violations, aggravated assault, and a 2019 domestic battery case, according to WLS-TV.

One friend, Tommy Taylor, remembered him as a “good guy and funny guy.

“Something had to happen in order for him to break him like that,” Taylor told the AP.

With Post wires

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