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Filming in Morris, Illinois: Beverly A. Lambert identified as Grundy County woman slain; Cortez Rice loaded


MORRIS, Ill. (WLS) — The woman killed in a shooting in Morris, Illinois on Thursday has been identified and a teenager has been charged with her murder.

The Grundy County Coroner’s Office said Friday morning that Beverly A. Lambert, 25, of Shorewood died in the incident.

Lambert was taken to Morris Hospital after the shooting, where she was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m., the coroner’s office said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Cortez Rice, 16, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the incident, Morris officials said Friday.

He is currently being held at the River Valley Detention Center in Joliet and appeared in court on Friday.

The families of the suspect and the victim were both in court.

Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland said Lambert was picking up her one-year-old son, Jace, from a caretaker at the apartment complex when she was shot twice in the back of the neck.

“The shock value of something that happens to a 25-year-old woman in Grundy County, I think the community has a ripple effect that not only impacts the victim’s family, but the whole the community,” Helland said.

The teenager then stole her car, Helland said

“I’ve never heard of a Grundy County offender committing a murder at age 16 in county history. That just doesn’t happen here,” Helland added.

He then fled, prompting a three-hour search by several police departments.

Police responded to the 500 block of Twilight Drive and asked area residents to shelter in place while they searched for the shooter around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

“A policeman kind of waved at us and said, ‘Stay there, and came down and said, ‘We have an active shooter. Stay indoors,” said Mike Ryerson, who lives nearby. “There has been an upsurge in violent incidents lately, which has always been very unusual for Morris.”

Police were able to locate the suspect using license plate reader technology which was installed at the entrance and exit to the community just a month ago.

Using flock camera technology, officers were able to track the suspect leaving the scene of the shooting at an apartment complex near Twilight Drive around 4:30 p.m. and entering another nearby community.

RELATED: Morris Fire: Industrial fire causes evacuation of 1,000 nearby homes

“And then he was followed by multiple cameras, catching him at intersections and they were able to get closer,” said Stan Knudson, of the City of Morris.

“It was amazing how quickly the shooting happened from the apprehension it had within hours,” Helland said.

A man was taken into custody; police did not provide any additional information about the suspect

Neighbors say how rare it is for something like this to happen here.

“It surprised me that this happened. I mean, I grew up in Chicago, and on the South Side of Chicago, it was nothing. But here, it’s a really nice neighborhood,” said Paul Wagner, who also lived nearby.

Helland said the teenager would be charged as an adult and could face up to 40 years in prison.

Given the teen’s criminal history, his bail was set at $5 million. He will next appear in court on August 18.

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