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Friend of Murder Victim Ran Over Murderer After Witnessing Shooting on Western Ave, Lake Forest

Wed January 17 2018 5:27 pm
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Lake Forest police confirmed Wednesday January 17 2018 that Claire Vanlandingham, a 27-year-old U.S. Navy dentist, was shot to death by her 33-year-old ex-boyfriend in a murder-suicide on Wednesday January 3, 2017.

Ryan Zike shot Claire Vanlandingham behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in the block of 600 Western Avenue in downtown Lake Forest, police said.

Lake Forest police investigators said Zike drove to Illinois the day before the shooting and stayed overnight at an unknown location.

About 6:20 a.m. on January 3, 2018 he approached Vanlandingham as she walked to the parking lot between her apartment and the coffee shop in the block of 600 North Western Avenue. After a brief conversation, police said Zike shot her several times with a semi-automatic pistol.

A male co-worker was supposed to pick up Vanlandingham for work that morning. The 37-year-old male co-worker, who is an active member of the Navy, witnessed the shooting and thought Zike might aim the gun at him. Police say he rammed Zike with his Land Rover Discovery to avoid being shot.

Zike then shot himself in the head, according to police and the Lake County coroner. He was found dead at the scene. The coroner said that Zike did not sustain major trauma from being hit by the co-worker’s Land Rover.

The co-worker tried to give Vanlandingham first-aid, including CPR, and ran to a nearby business to ask for help. She was transported by Lake Forest firefighter/paramedics to Lake Forest Hospital, where she died.

Toxicology results are pending on both Zike and Vanlandingham, the coroner said.

Zike had a valid concealed carry gun permit for Kentucky, Lake Forest police said. Zike was also armed with a second pistol and a knife. Zike and Vanlandingham previously dated and lived together in Lake Forest before Zike moved out and relocated to Louisville, Kentucky with his family.

On the morning of the shooting, Lake Forest police investigators reported that a woman that was shot and killed near a Dunkin’s Donuts in downtown Lake Forest was identified as Claire Elizabeth VanLandingham, 27, of Lake Forest. She died of multiple gunshot wounds that investigators believe were caused by shots fired by Ryan Zike, 33, on Wednesday January 3, 2018 just before 6:24 a.m. at 620 North Western Avenue in Lake Forest.

An autopsy performed Thursday on Ryan Zike, 33, determined Zike died of a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Lake County coroner’s office. Coroner Howard Cooper said carefully in a news release Thursday that Zike’s wound was “possibly” self-inflicted. There were no police operations for a “shooter at large” on Wednesday morning, and the two apparently knew each other.

Claire Van Landingham Navy dentist shot and killed in Lake ForestClaire Van Landingham, Navy dentist shot and killed in Lake Forest (Facebook photo).

Claire VanLandingham was transported with Advanced Life Support measures by Lake Forest firefighter/paramedics to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

VanLandingham, who was from Kansas, arrived to work at the Navy base in North Chicago in August 2017 after completing dental studies earlier last year, according to a Navy spokeswoman, Lt. Liza Dougherty.

VanLandingham was a lieutenant in the Navy Dental Corps, and was assigned August 12, 2017 to the USS Osborne Dental Clinic at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, just west of Great Lakes Naval Station.

VanLandingham received her Navy commission in December 2013, and from January 2014 until May 2017, VanLandingham was a student at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Bethesda, Md.

During summer 2017, VanLandingham was a student in the Navy’s officer training command in Newport, R.I., for just over a month. A Facebook photo “Dr. VanLandingham” (posted May 16, 2017) showed her at graduation at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Dr Claire VanLandingham at University of LouisvilleDr. Claire VanLandingham at University of Louisville (Facebook photo).

Zike was identified by the coroner’s office as a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. Zike apparently lived in the Chicago area for a short time in late 2017 and was employed for a short time period in the area.

A news release dated September 26 2017 by the Park District of Highland announced that a “Ryan Zike” was hired as the naturalist at the local Heller Nature Center. Zike’s responsibilities included overseeing public programs, teams course, scout and custom programs, camps, and the Honey Bee program. As of December 29, 2017, Zike was not listed in the Staff Directory at the Park District of Highland Park.

According to the park district, Zike was a Naturalist/ Recreation Supervisor for the Jefferson Memorial Forest in Kentucky for 7 years prior to working for the Park District of Highland Park.

The park district reported Zike earned a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Park Administration with a concentration in Natural Resources and Outdoor Education from Eastern Kentucky University, and that some of his other interests include rock climbing, mountain biking and aeronautics.

A post on Zike’s Facebook declared that he was in a relationship with VanLandingham in March 2017, but there were no pictures of the two together on Zike’s Facebook page, or on VanLandingham’s Facebook page.

Ryan ZikeRyan Zike (Facebook photo).

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Lake Forest police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 6:24 AM Wednesday January 3, 2018 to a report of a person shot in the alley behind the Dunkin’s Donuts, 620 North Western Avenue Lake Forest, Il. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report of a person shot in the alley behind the Dunkin’s Donuts. A man was dead at the scene, and a woman was critically wounded with three gunshot wounds.

Police on the scene report a female with three gunshot wounds by 6:24 a.m., and the scene was secure by 6:25 a.m.

CPR was in progress for the female shooting victim by 6:27 a.m. and Lake Forest Ambulance 421’s crew with extra paramedics on board departed for Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital by 6:31 a.m. The female patient was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Lake Forest police and the The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the shooting case.

Police did not initially release the identities of the two killed, but defined the incident as a domestic dispute.




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