Cops shoot driver dragging officer in Black Friday incident at Romeoville Kohl’s

Story ImageChicago Sun Times – by FRANK VAISVILAS AND ASHLEE REZIN

ROMEOVILLE — A Romeoville Police officer shot a man and another officer was injured Thursday night while trying to stop three Joliet men suspected of shoplifting at a Kohl’s store in the southwest suburb.

Police received a call from store security about shoplifters about 10:10 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement from Romeoville police.  

Two officers arrived on the scene and confronted 51-year-old Robert Russell, who was trying to flee the store, located at 261 S. Weber Road. The officers chased Russell, who jumped into the passenger seat of a Pontiac Sunfire, police said.

One of the officers caught up to the car on foot, and while the officer attempted to arrest Russell, of the 500 block of Francis Street in Joliet, he closed the car door on the officer’s arm, police said.

The officer’s arm was still stuck in the car’s door when the driver pulled away, dragging the officer, police said.

His backup officer ordered the driver to stop, but the car kept moving. The backup officer fired three or four shots into the car, hitting the driver in the left arm, police said.

The officer who was dragged suffered a non-life-threatening shoulder injury and was taken to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital in Bolingbrook, police said.

The driver, 52-year-old Charles Hinch, of the 400 block of Pico Street in Joliet, was taken to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital in Bolingbrook with one gunshot wound, and later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, police said.

Russell and Hinch were both arrested, police said. A third man who was apprehended while still inside the store, 28-year-old Gerald Chamberlain, of the 1300 block of Englewood Avenue in Joliet, was also arrested in connection with the incident.

Charges are pending against all three men as Romeoville police are investigating.

“This is definitely a rare occurrence,” Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said early Friday. “We’ve had shoplifting on Black Friday, but something like this is rare.”

The officer who fired at the car will be on station duty during the investigation of the incident, he said.

One entrance to the Kohl’s, at Airport Road and Weber Road about a mile south of Interstate 55, remained open early Friday and people were still shopping inside the store.

A small portion of the fire lane was taped off in front of the store. There were no ambulances at the scene, but several police cars were parked out front.

Four marked Romeoville police cars and two unmarked cars were parked in front of the store.

Monica Fernandez, 41, of Romeoville, said she was just pulling in to a parking spot and getting ready to shop about 11 p.m. when she saw police running after a guy and heard multiple gunshots.

“When I pulled the car in, I heard the gunshots. I ducked under my seat,” Fernandez said. “It’s crazy. Romeoville doesn’t have a lot of crime like that.”

One thought on “Cops shoot driver dragging officer in Black Friday incident at Romeoville Kohl’s

  1. Apparently even rock-bottoms prices aren’t good enough for some people.

    Or maybe they decided that the 2 or 3 hour wait to get to the register wasn’t worth it.

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