Krysztof Marek is accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors in a rampage at a Chicago condominium complex on Saturday, October 12. Prosecutors say the 66-year-old retired construction worker and truck driver planned out the brutal attack and left behind notes in his condo meant to encourage himself to carry out the mass shooting, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Marek was arrested after the shooting, telling the officers he surrendered to, “I think you’re looking for me. I did it,” the Sun-Times reports. Chicago Police said spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter that the incident stemmed from an ongoing dispute between Marek and his neighbors in the Northwest Side condo complex. Guglielmi called the murders in the city’s Dunning neighborhood, “devastating” and said Marek is accused of “nothing short of savagery.”
Authorities say Marek killed the married couple who lived in the condo, Tsvetanka Kostadinova and her husband, Ivaylo Popov, both 43, and their visitors, David Hanik, 61, and his girlfriend, Iskra Pourel-Popova, 65, who was Popov’s mother. Marek also shot and killed 53-year-old Jolanta Topolska, who lived in the apartment above Popov and Kostadinova, according to prosecutors.
Here’s what you need to know about Krysztof Marek:
1. Marek Shot & Killed 4 of the Victims While They Sat Down for Dinner at Their Kitchen Table & Then Gunned Down the 5th Victim After She Came Outside to See What Was Going On, Police Say
Chicago Police say the first four victims were sitting down for dinner in their condo in the 6700 block of West Irving Park about 5:30 p.m. when Krysztof Marek entered the apartment with a .40 caliber handgun and began shooting. He killed the two women and two men who were inside.
“All four bodies dropped to the floor around the table,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court, according to WGN-TV. “Victim 1, victim 2, victim 3 and victim 4, all sat around a set dinner table, with food on the table untouched.”
Marek then left the condo and shot the fifth victim. She had come out of her condo to see what was going on. Police say he shot her in the abdomen and then followed her as she tried to escape. He shot her in the back of the head, police said.
Two GoFundMe campaigns have been started to help the victims’ families. The GoFundMe for Jolanta Topolska says, “We will not be able to return Jola’s life, but we can show solidarity in these difficult moments for her family. We ask you to support Jola’s family who lost her in such a cruel way. The collected funds will be used to organize the funeral and send the ashes to Poland.”
The other four victims are Bulgarian. The couple who own the condo have children who lost their parents and grandparents in the shooting. The GoFundMe, organized to help them, says, “Dear friends, with a heavy heart, we share our pain for our tragic loss of our Mother, Father, Grandma, and Grandpa. They were ripped away from us in one single moment the evening of October 12th, 2019 in Chicago.”
“The unsuspecting Tzveti, Ivo, Iskra, and David were sitting together for a family dinner at their home, without knowing that this would be their last meal on this world. They were killed brutally, shot, without any mercy by an individual who was psychologically disturbed,” the GoFundMe adds. “We are asking for financial help, because this quadruple tragedy is impossible for us to handle at this moment, on our own. Please help us with the funeral expenses. Thank you in advance from the bottom of our hearts for any amount of money you are able to donate, no matter how big or small! God bless you. May they rest in peace.”
2. He Had Taped Chilling Notes to His Door Reading, ‘No Mercy,’ & ‘Enough!! They have to Pay for It’
Prosecutors revealed in court that police found chilling notes inside Marek’s apartment during a search after the shooting, the Sun-Times reports. One note, taped to his door, read, “No Mercy!!! Remember, whatever s— they do to you, you control it yourself not them!! Enough!! They have to pay for it!!”
According to the Sun-Times, prosecutors described another note as saying, “Tomorrow!! No Mercy. Without any stupid hesitation!!! Remember who you are!! Remember what this piece of s— is doing to you!! Enough!!”
Investigators also found “multiple cryptic letters,” describing “issues with his neighbors,” the prosecutor said, according to the Sun-Times.
3. Marek, Who Worked in Construction for Several Years, Had No Prior Criminal Record & Neighbors Say He Was ‘Friendly’ Until About 6 Months Ago When He Became ‘Spooky’ & ‘Unstable’ & ‘Snapped’
Marek’s neighbors told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had in the past been “friendly,” and they had no issues with him. But his demeanor changed in the past six months, his neighbors told the newspaper. They called him “spooky,” and “unstable.”
A woman who lived in the building with Marek told the Sun-Times that he “snapped.”
According to WGN-TV, police were called to the condo complex two months before the shooting after Marek was accused of hitting the son of one of the women killed in the rampage. Further details about that incident were not immediately available.
According to the Sun-Times, Marek’s public defender said his client had lived in the condo for more than 25 years and he had worked for more than 25 years as a cross-country truck driver. Records show he also worked in construction. Marek’s public defender said in court that he has three adult children and six grandchildren, the newspaper reports.
4. He Filed for Bankruptcy in 2017 After Racking Up Nearly $200,000 in Debt & He Was Facing Eviction for Failing to Pay His Mortgage & Condo Fees, Court Records Show
Federal court records show that Marek filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 after accruing more than $200,000 in debt. He owed more than $112,000 for his mortgage and loans, more than $24,000 to the IRS and more than $63,000 to other creditors, mostly credit card companies. Marek did have assets totaling about $115,000.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Marek was facing eviction by his condominium complex’s association because he had failed to make payments on his mortgage and condo fees.
According to the Tribune, Marek’s neighbors said he was accused of mismanagement when he was in charge of the condo complex’s association a few years ago.
5. Marek, Who Had a Firearm Owner’s ID Card, Was Ordered Held Without Bail by a Cook County Judge Who Called the Case ‘Evil on Steroids’
Krysztof Marek holds a valid firearm owner’s identification card, according to the Chicago Tribune. The FOID card allowed Marek to legally purchase a gun in Illinois. But sources told the Tribune that Marek did not have a license to carry a concealed weapon.
Marek made his first court appearance on October 14 and was ordered held without bail. He was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Cook County Judge John Lyke, after hearing the prosecutor’s accusations against Marek, said in court, “What I just heard is evil on steroids,” the newspaper reports.
Marek’s attorney has not commented about the case. Marek did not speak in court.