Crime & Courts

Gun used in Illinois death, also believed to be used in California homicide reported stolen

Sypien had sent photos of pistol to area woman, made vague threats

When a former schoolmate of Mark A. Sypien, 51, received a troubling text from him Feb. 5 with pictures of a gun and the words “Ive [sic] had enough,” she thought Sypien was suicidal.

The woman – who asked not to be identified because of the nature of the incident – said she hadn’t heard from Sypien in years. They went to St. Charles High School together but were in separate classes. She received the texts out of the blue, only weeks before Sypien apparently shot himself to death Wednesday after fleeing from Danville, California, where he was wanted in connection with a homicide Sunday.

In one of the photos, a gun rests on a 2019 calendar next to a bottle of wine and drug paraphernalia. In the text, Sypien said, “Ive [sic] had enough.” In another photo, a handgun, several magazines, gloves, alcohol wipes and duct tape sit on top of the calendar open to February 2019, with the text caption “she will regret [expletive] me.”

Police later would learn that Sypien’s gun – a black Springfield Armory XD .40-caliber pistol – had been stolen from Lisle. But they only would recover the weapon after Sypien had used it to kill two people, one of them himself, they said. Sypien met his violent end less than two weeks after the shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, in which five people died.

The perpetrators in both cases were convicted felons, barred under federal and state law from owning handguns.

Sypien had a history of domestic violence and abuse and a propensity for making threats. The man he shot, John Moore, 76, of Danville, California, had received several threatening emails from Sypien, according to The San Jose Mercury News. Moore sought an order of protection against Sypien in 2014, but police said it did not stop Sypien from shooting Moore multiple times in a parking lot Sunday.

California police said Sypien fled the scene in a silver 2003 Ford Escape SUV with Illinois plates. He drove more than 2,000 miles without a driver’s license to reach the house where his parents live in the 3N600 block of Bittersweet Road, St. Charles, where police said he shot himself about 3 p.m. Wednesday. The SUV could be seen in the driveway Wednesday afternoon.

Kane County Sheriff’s Office officials said that the .40-caliber handgun Sypien used to shoot himself likely was the same gun he used to kill Moore. After running the serial number, officials discovered that the gun was reported as stolen from Lisle.

“We believe – but we can’t be sure until the gun is sent to the lab – it was the same gun from California,” Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Pat Gengler said Thursday.

“I am truly feeling a lot of guilt over this,” the former schoolmate said. “I thought he was going to end his own life. I had no idea he was going to harm anyone else. I want to extend my prayers to the victim’s family and Mark’s family.”

“Everybody just thought he was just a little off,” she added Wednesday. “He’s always been a little on the edge.”

Sypien served 60 days of a 120-day jail sentence in the DeKalb County Jail from October to December 2017, DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said. Sypien had violated a 2004 order of protection that a domestic violence victim had secured against him, resulting in his jail sentence.

The same day as Sypien’s death, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to improve gun safety. The Background Checks Act of 2019, co-sponsored by 14th Congressional District Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, would require a background check on every gun sale or transfer, including unlicensed gun dealers, with exceptions for family gifts, hunting and target shooting and self-defense.

• Shaw Media reporter Brenda Schory contributed to this story.

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