On October 5, a man in a light blue truck approached a construction site in rural Beecher, Illinois, shooting workers Rolando Alonso and Josh Garza. Though Garza would survive, Alonso wouldn’t be so lucky. He would later die from his wounds…
Customer Jason McDaniel grabbed Amaya’s gun and shot him after Amaya tried to rob an LA Tan store
An hour later, the same man approached farmer Keith Dahl and robbed him of $60 before shooting him in the arm and shoulder. Dahl would also survive — and live to ID his assailant.
The shooter was later dubbed the Honeybee Killer after initially striking up a conversation with Dahl about caring for bees. But police would take a strange and circuitous route to find their killer.
During the manhunt that followed the shooting, police pulled over Lynwood police officer Brian Dorian during a traffic stop. He was later released after he identified himself as a cop. But when those officers heard of the shootings, they forwarded their info on pulling over Dorian to detectives from Will County, who were searching for the Honeybee killer.
Lynwood police officer Brian Dorian was initially charged with first-degree murder, though it seemed there was almost no evidence against him
It wasn’t long before Dorian was arrested, charged with first degree murder.
It seemed a bungled pinch from the start. Dorian was 37 with tightly cropped hair and a cop’s brawny build. The shooter looked nearly 10 years older, double-chinned and with longer hair. Though police had two witnesses who could identify the man who shot them, they arrested Dorian anyway.
Four days later, they were forced to release him after his home computer records showed him online at the time, making it impossible for him to be the suspect.
More than two months would go by before detectives would find the real killer. That’s when 48-year-old Gary Amaya walked into an LA Tan salon in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, intent on robbery.
Amaya was in the midst of tying up two women at the store when in walked 29-year-old customer Jason McDaniel. Amaya pointed a gun at him and ordered McDaniel to tie himself up.
But Amaya wasn’t the brightest bulb on the planet, seeing as how he’d chosen to rob a tanning salon. He put down his gun as he reached for a rope inside a bag. That’s when McDaniel decided to rush him, elbowing Amaya in the chin and grabbing the gun.
Amaya came toward him, so McDaniel blasted away, killing him.
Ballistics tests showed the gun used in the LA Tan robbery was the same one used to shoot the three victims two months earlier. Farmer Dahl also identified Amaya as his shooter.
But while Amaya’s death put the honeybee murders to rest, the case is not over. Dorian will almost surely sue Will County for his wrongful arrest, since it appears that police arrested one of their own for first-degree murder based on almost no evidence.
At least McDaniel came out of the whole tale looking pretty. Not only did he receive at $5,000 reward from LA Tan, but he and his wife will get free tanning for the rest of their lives. (Special thanks to readers Christopher, Robert & Tiffani for the tip.)
See our last story from the Occupation: Man file: Deputy Dan Cuckler Falls Through Ice, Still Manages to Arrest Burglars.