Identities Released for Male, Female Navy Personnel Found Dead in Middle of Lakeview Drive in Wheeling

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Two gunshot victims found dead on Lakeview Drive east of Buffalo Grove in Wheeling. YouTube Tips ⓘ

Two U.S. Navy personnel assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes Recruit Training Command were found dead early Sunday morning, June 5, 2022. According to a Wheeling Police Department, Travis Stephens, age 37, shot Ajah Barnes, age 26, and then shot himself about 4:50 a.m. Sunday, June 5, 2022 on Lakeview Drive. Their bodies were down in the middle of the street side-by-side with the upper body of the male victim pointing toward the south side of the street and the upper body of the female victim pointing toward the north side of the street. A handgun was discovered on the street just to the north of the bodies.

Witnesses told CARDINAL NEWS Sunday morning that a male shot a female and then himself after arguing using “aggressive words.” Witnesses reported hearing three or four shots after the arguing.

Wheeling Police Department provided that there was an argument about their relationship that was overhead by several people. After the shooting, Wheeling police officers went door-to-door of apartment and condo building units, canvassing the neighborhood as part of their investigation. Police interviewed many people while recording the interviews on their bodycams.

During the argument, the couple broke windows on each other’s cars in an apartment parking lot. Ajah Barnes walked away during the argument, and then Stephens returned to his apartment and retrieved a handgun, found Ajah Barnes, and shot her in the middle of the street on Lakeview Drive — a few feet west of Blackfoot Court. He then fatally shot himself. The crime scene in Wheeling was located about 400 feet east of the border of Wheeling with Arlington Heights, and east of Centennial Park in Arlington Heights. While police were investigating, neighbors were trying to figure out when the actual shots were fired, and how long the bodies were in the street.

The shooting surprised neighbors of the Tahoe Village neighborhood, which is located just north of the Mallard Lake Apartments in Wheeling. A neighbor said Stephens lived in an apartment building along Lakeview Drive south of Wetumka Court, and near the southwest corner of the intersection of Lakeview Drive, Tahoe Circle Drive and Chippewa Trail, where eastbound Lakeview Drive takes a turn southbound toward Hintz Road.

Many people, who live close to the scene in Tahoe Village, were surprised they didn’t hear the gunshots, even though they were awake in the morning without their TV or radio on. However, a few people said they heard three or four shots fired in rapid succession. The handgun appeared to be a grayish-silver non-glossy semi-automatic (with a gun magazine), as opposed to a revolver.

Police, firefighters and paramedics from Wheeling responded about 4:50 a.m. and 4:59 a.m. Sunday, June 5, 2022 to a report of person down in the roadway on Lakeview Drive east of Buffalo Grove Road in Wheeling. Upon arrival, police discovered two people people down in the roadway deceased with wounds consistent with firearm injuries, according to Wheeling Police Department. Wheeling police requested Wheeling Fire Department paramedics respond to the scene for two apparent gunshot victims, and paramedics confirmed that the victims were dead at the scene. A silver handgun was also found on the street near the bodies. Both bodies were close together in the middle of Lakeview Drive just west of Blackfoot Court in Wheeling.

Wheeling Police Department tent covering the bodies of two US Navy personnel found dead in the middle of Lakeview Drive in Wheeling, Illinois.
Tent covering the bodies of two US Navy personnel found dead in the middle of Lakeview Drive in Wheeling, Illinois.

A tent was immediately set up to protect the evidence at the scene and prevent viewing of the bodies by the general public. Yellow police tape was also set up for a large perimeter to prevent people from traveling on certain parts of the roadway, sidewalks and parking lot that were part of the crime scene. Police at the crime scene immediately provided information that they were not actively looking for an offender. Wheeling police also posted information on Twitter stating, “based on preliminary investigation and evidence we do not believe there is a greater threat to the community.”

Wheeling police said Sunday that investigators that were at the scene were continuing to work with the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office to positively identify the victims. Great Lakes Recruit Training Command officials and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) joined the investigation.

Witnesses in the neighborhood reported hearing a verbal argument prior to hearing three or four gunshots. Initially it was unknown how long the bodies were in the street before police were called to the scene.

The scene on Lakeview Drive was cleared by about 10:30 a.m. after a Wheeling Fire Department engine crew washed down the street of blood and related potential biohazards.



Wheeling Police Department investigation of double fatal shooting
Wheeling Police Department investigation of double fatal shooting (Craig/CapturedNews).

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