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Man Charged In Shooting Death At Joliet Restaurant

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Christopher Thompson / photo from Joliet police

Christopher Thompson / photo from Joliet police

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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — A father and husband was gunned down in the middle of a Joliet restaurant.

29-year-old Gerardo Franchini was eating breakfast with his wife and two children Saturday morning when the gunman walked up and fired.

The alleged shooter is now behind bars facing murder charges.

Witnesses from the packed restaurant tell me they can’t get rid of the images that played-out right in front of their eyes.

It was not a typical Sunday at Louis’s family restaurant in Joliet. The line is usually out the door, but not today. Yesterday morning’s shooting has regulars, staying away.

A waitress says she waited on 31-year-old Christopher Thompson minutes before police say he unloaded his gun on Franchini, who was dining with his wife and two young daughters.

“Actually he was really polite. He asked my name, and he asked me where the bathrooms were,” said the waitress.

She says Thompson and Franchini ran into each other in the back of the restaurant and got into a heated argument and Thompson left.

Witnesses say about 10-15 minutes went by from when the shooter left with his girlfriend and returned with a loaded gun.

“He went over to the table, leaned over and just unloaded, right in front of his kids. That’s sad,” said another waitress who also did not want to be identified.

She says she heard six shots and then chaos.

“Screaming, ducking, people flipping tables and hiding under them. Glass is breaking. I mean dishes everywhere, food everywhere. His little girls were crying and screaming, asking for their dad,” she said.

Thompson was arrested a few hours later in Crest Hill and is now charged with murder. Franchini was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Records reveal both the victim and shooter had extensive criminal backgrounds. The owner of Louis’s said business is down at least 70 percent percent today.

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