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Man convicted of fatal 2013 shooting at Joliet diner

Christopher Thompson | Will County state's attorney's office

A southwest suburban man has been convicted of murder for shooting another man nine times while the victim was eating breakfast with his family in a crowded Joliet restaurant in 2013.

Christopher Thompson, 33, was found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday, according to the Will County state’s attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said Thompson shot Gerrardo Franchini nine times at point-blank range while Franchini was eating breakfast with his wife, 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old niece in a booth at Louis’ Restaurant at 1001 W. Jefferson St. about 9:30 a.m. Aug. 3, 2013.

“Christopher Thompson committed an act of unrivaled brutality when he gunned down an unarmed man in a crowded restaurant while he was enjoying a meal with his wife and two little children,” State’s Attorney James Glasgow said in the statement. “His actions displayed a demonic disregard for the safety of the children and everyone in that restaurant.”

The two men had been involved in an “ongoing dispute” when Thompson walked into the restaurant earlier that morning and saw Franchini eating, prosecutors said. The men exchanged “heated words” before Thompson left.

He returned 15 minutes later, partially covering his face with a shirt, and opened fire on Franchini, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Three shots hit Franchini’s face, while six struck his body.

Multiple eyewitnesses, including Franchini’s wife, identified Thompson as the shooter and testified at the trial, prosecutors said.

Thompson, of the 700 block of South Joliet Street, faces 45 years to life in prison, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Will County Circuit Judge Dan Rozak on May 5.