A Belleville family was devastated when they learned a long-time friend and caregiver had been shot and killed.
Then they got news from the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office that one of their own, Dominick C. Mohead, 26, is the accused shooter.
Kristine Gibbons, 54, was pronounced dead in a west Belleville home on the 3900 block of South Park Drive after police visited the address on a wellness check. A certified nurse’s assistant and home health care aide, Gibbons was making her daily visit to check on the home owner and her foster children.
Sometime between borrowing the home owner’s debit card to purchase gasoline and cigarettes and returning to the home, Gibbons was shot. She died inside the front door of the modest home in a quiet neighborhood.
On Saturday, Mohead, who lives in the house and handed Gibbons the debit card, was charged with first-degree murder. He surrendered himself to police at the scene Friday morning and is being held at the St. Clair County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
Prior to murder charges being filed Saturday, Mohead’s police record included only traffic citations.
Annie Thompson, Mohead’s aunt, said she was as shocked to learn that her nephew was being charged for murder as she was when she heard that Gibbons, who the family called “Chrissy,” was dead.
Mohead must not have known it was Gibbons at their front door, she said.
“He loved Chrissy. Our whole family loves Chrissy. She has been in our family for many years and she is like family,” Thomspon said. “The only thing I can think of is he went back to sleep after he gave Chrissy the debit card, and he woke up startled and was delusional and got scared.”
Thompson described Mohead as “a recluse,” and “special.” He didn’t hang out with friends and had never been to a nightclub or bar, she said. She even referred to the 26-year-old as a child.
“He must’ve thought she was a burglar or an intruder. He would not intentionally hurt Chrissy or anyone else,” Thompson said. “He loved Chrissy. I am telling you, everybody loved Chrissy … He stayed to himself. He is not a violent person at all. That child wouldn’t harm nobody.”
Neighbors awoke to flashing lights and sirens, some telling a News-Democrat reporter at the scene that couldn’t imagine what could be going on in their quiet neighborhood.
They also were surprised to learn that police were holding Mohead accountable.
Neighbors said he is soft-spoken and polite. All tried to imagine a scenario under which Mohead would shoot at anyone, let alone a close family friend.
Sheryl Armstead, another of Mohead’s aunts, said Gibbons was close with everyone in the family.
“She took care of my grandmother and mother,” Armstead said. “She was beautiful. She was always there for me.”
Armstead said Gibbons loved horses and volunteered at a local stable.
She said she learned of the shooting from another relative and left work to be with her family. Armstead also said her nephew had no reason to kill Gibbons.
“Of all the people in the world, not her. The kind of person she was … she wouldn’t do anything wrong,” said Armstead. “I was even more blown away when they charged my nephew with murder. Chrissy loved him. Oh my God!
“He is the best kid in the family. I promise you that boy helped everybody and never said one word. By him being sleep and heard noises, he probably thought it was a burglar. That boy is a great kid. He’s never been to a club. He is a real, mild mannered, humble, sweet kind boy.”
Vic Grinston has lived on South Park Drive for 21 years, and is known as “Tree Guy” because he cuts down trees. He noticed police activity on his block when he returned home to disposed of some tree trimmings.
He said many of the Belleville officers know him and asked him for snacks for the foster children staying at the house where Gibbons died. Grinston hadn’t seen the 5-year-old boy, who he said he sometimes took to school, in two days.
“You see something like this on the news. But, you never think it could happen in your neighborhood. Poof!,” Grinston said.