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Murders send shock waves rippling through Eagle Plaza
By Alex Rodriguez | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 9:42 PM

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Originally published Jan. 10, 1993

Incomprehensible, Jane Hill thought.

In the two decades that her family operated a drapery store at the Eagle Plaza shopping center in Palatine, she had never heard of a break-in or any act of violence happening there. But Saturday, as police tried to piece together clues in the slaying of seven people at a Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant at the shopping center, Hill and other store owners realized they no longer are immune from such violence.

"It's sad and it's sick," said Hill, whose family owns Hillits Interiors, at the shopping center at Smith Road and Northwest Highway "You'd think Palatine was a safe place to live. This bothers me. This is in my front yard."

All morning, store aisles and counters at the shopping center became impromptu forums for commiseration over the deaths at the Brown's restaurant. Some store owners said they planned to step up security because of the slayings. Employees at the H&R Block office at the shopping center said they plan to end the practice of having just one person staff the office at night.

At the Eagle Food Store, the anchor for the plaza, Palatine residents Lupe Ryba and Marilyn Majus took time out from their shopping to talk to each other about the slayings.

"When I first moved into Palatine, you'd never hear about things like this," Ryba said. "You can't move away from the problem, because wherever you go it's going to be like this."

At fast-food restaurants along Northwest Highway in Palatine, teenage employees said news of the deaths shocked and frightened them. Bob Chisholm, a 16-year-old employee at Wendy's restaurant at 265 N. Northwest Hwy., said his mother woke him up Saturday, told him what happened, and asked him not to go to work. Chisholm went anyway, but the news still unnerved him.

"It's weird to think these kids are dead. It's shocking, because some of them were just kids," he said.