Recent shootings trouble Plainfield residents
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org August 17, 2012 11:54PM
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:08AM
PLAINFIELD — Gunshots rang out twice last week in Plainfield, a community that strives to maintain a quaint, small-town atmosphere despite its large population.
About 1 a.m. Tuesday, three male offenders, two holding guns, barged into an apartment in the 24000 block of Main Street, demanding money from the people staying there.
One of the residents chased the offenders out of the apartment and was shot once.
The next night, about 2:30 a.m., three men with two guns held up the 7-Eleven store at 14807 S. Route 59, just down the street from the apartment building.
One suspect fired a shot into the floor of the store, then shot at a nearby resident who was outside.
The 7-Eleven robbery suspects were arrested a short time later by Crest Hill and Joliet police. And the apartment shooting was not random, police say. The residents were targeted by people they knew.
Speaking on the heels of those incidents, which happened near his house, Tim Gallagher was even-keel.
“It’s not that concerning,” Gallagher said, standing on the wide front porch of the roughly 100-year-old house he’s lived in for about 24 years. “This town has changed a lot. It’s just part of the growing process.”
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Plainfield’s 2010 population at 39,581, a 203.6 percent increase from its 2000 population of 13,038.
Mary, who declined to give her last name, lives across the street from Gallagher. From her front yard, she can see the apartment building where the shooting took place.
“It’s not really that shocking,” she said. “(Plainfield is) starting to change a little bit. Overall, it’s a good community.”
There was another shooting in Plainfield earlier this summer.
Just before 10 p.m. July 15, a masked man with a gun walked into the Burger King at 11740 S. Route 59, fired a shot at the employees without speaking a word, then left on foot.
Plainfield police still are investigating that incident and aren’t sure whether it was a robbery attempt, Police Chief John Konopek said.
And while there were two other relatively recent incidents in town involving guns — an armed robbery of an AT&T Wireless store in March and the armed robbery of CiCi’s restaurant on Dec. 31, 2011 — Konopek said there is no spike in violent crime.
Every year there are usually up to four armed robberies committed in town, Konopek said.
What’s changed, he said, are the offenders. In the past, they haven’t used the guns while committing the robberies.
“The people on the other end of those weapons are actually brazen enough to fire the weapon,” he said, a fact that concerns him.
“I can’t even speculate as to why they feel they have to fire off rounds,” he said, adding the victims in the robbery incidents were compliant.
Plainfield Mayor Mike Collins is concerned, too. He said he met with some residents Friday who were talking about the incidents.
“This is an old-time farming community, but it’s definitely changed. We have a lot more residents,” said Collins, who is a retired state police officer. “I do get nervous. And so do the citizens of town. They feel concerned.”
He said he has confidence in both the village’s police and its residents — as does Konopek.
“Plainfield is a very quiet town. The reason these incidents are getting such media attention is because we are such a quiet town,” Konopek said. “We have a very proactive police force and good residents, too ... who keep their eyes open.”