The father of five charged with shooting d*ead his wife and three daughters in their Chicago-area home had been arguing about money — later telling cops that his wife was a “money-hungry bitch” who “pushed” him to the carnage, according to prosecutors.
Maher Kassem, 63, has been charged with four counts of first-degree mu*rder for the Sunday morning de*aths of wife Majeda, 53, and daughters Halema, 25, Zahia, 25, and Hanan, 24, in their home in affluent Tinley Park.
His wife was shot seven times and each daughter twice — watched in part by one of the accused kil*ler’s surviving sons, his first court hearing was told Tuesday.
“They’re all gone,” he allegedly confessed when police arrived. “I’m going to jail.”
Kassem had recently retired and told responding cops that his “wife’s worried about money and where she can take it,” Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Clark told the court.
“I worked all my life to give my family a better home and they treat me like s–t,” he was heard complaining to cops on bodycam footage.
He also complained that his wife “treats me like a f—ing dog,” Clark told the hearing.
“Bury me and take the money,” Kassem allegedly said, describing his just-k*illed wife as a “money-hungry bitch” who “pushed me to it.”
Clark said Kassem was arguing with one of his daughters inside the basement while his 19-year-old son was sleeping.
The boy allegedly heard his father come upstairs and downstairs more than once as his other two sisters and mother tried to get the dad to quiet down, Clark said.
Eventually, the argument turned into a yelling match — and the son heard gunshots, the prosecutor claimed.
At that point, the unidentified son went into the basement and saw his mother lying on the floor.
He wasn’t immediately sure if she had been shot, Clark claimed, but the teenager then saw one of his sisters with gunshot wounds and watched his dad allegedly shoot his mother two more times before stepping over the body to shoot his other sister.
Following the shooting, prosecutors said, Kassem called the police himself around 11:21 a.m. to report that his wife had been shot, but provided no further details.
When officers arrived, Clark said they asked him where the victim was and he pointed to the basement.
“They’re gone,” he allegedly said. “Everything is OK.”
Police then asked Kassem if anyone else was shot, to which he replied that there were four victims, Clark said.
“I’m going to jail,” the accused mu*rderer allegedly told police.
At that point, Clark said, officers asked him if “it was him,” to which he nodded.
“I’m the only one. I’m the only one,” he allegedly told police. “They’re all gone.”
He also allegedly directed the officers to a revolver near a pillow with four spent shell casings and two live rounds, as well as a 9mm pistol. Officers then found 13 spent 9mm shell casings in the basement.
Kassem had a valid firearms ownership identification card and no previous criminal history, authorities say.
A neighbor who knew the family — which includes another son — said the news of the grisly crime was “shocking” to wake up to Sunday morning, given that the victims and alleged ki*ller were “such a good family that had a bright future.”
“My daughter knows them,” Charlotte Vaitkus Said. “She went to school with the oldest son, and she employed the twin sisters. She always talked about how they were all very intelligent, and they had very high goals in life.”
Others described Kassem as a helpful gentleman who cleared the sidewalks on the street after the most recent snowstorm.
“I’ve known the guy for 30 years, I would have never expected anything like this,” Frank Muchna told the Sun-Times.
The suspect’s nephew also said his family is shocked by the crime his uncle is accused of committing against the family he seemed to care about so deeply.
Before Sunday, the nephew said, his uncle would have done anything for his family, he said
But another neighbor said she sometimes spoke with the daughters, whom she described as independent and ambitious — which sometimes caused conflict with their father.
The neighbor recounted to the Sun-Times how one of the girls complained that she wanted to learn how to drive, but her father did not want her to.
The mayor of Tinley Park has since described the shooting as an “act of senseless tragedy” and a “stark reminder of how quickly domestic violence can escalate.”