CHANNAHON — The man who brought a gun into Chicago Pizza and Catering Wednesday and began yelling at an employee is an Oswego police officer.
Oswego Officer John P. Wolfinbarger, 43, of Yorkville, was arrested on charges of obstructing a peace officer, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence, said Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold. Wolfinbarger was off-duty at the time of the incident.
Oswego Chief Dwight Baird said Wolfinbarger has been a patrol officer in Oswego for 11 years. He was immediately put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
“As a nationally accredited police department, we strive for the highest level of integrity,” said Baird in a press release. “The Oswego Police Department investigates all allegations of misconduct against any employee of the department, whether on and off duty.”
The charges came after local police had Wolfinbarger held in his car at gun point in the parking lot of the plaza in which the restaurant is located. The restaurant address is 25520 Pheasant Lane, Channahon, and it located just east of the intersection of Ridge Road and U.S. 6.
A call came in a little after 5 p.m. that there was a man with a gun at the restaurant, said Wold. The man had a gun on his waistband and walked into the office of the restaurant yelling and arguing with an employee. He never pulled the gun.
The chief said Wolfinbarger never identified himself as a police officer.
Wold said he did not believe Wolfinbarger was attempting to rob the restaurant, but rather was just arguing and rambling.
Customers yelled that he had a gun and Wolfinbarger then left the restaurant. He then got into his black Chevy pickup.
“When officers arrived on scene the officers stopped him at gun point. (Wolfinbarger) stopped the car, rolled up his window and refused to get out,” said Wold.
He did not show police his weapon, but witnesses had confirmed he had one.
As the officers attempted to coax the man from the truck, he threw his wallet out of the window and challenged officers to come by the truck door to get it.
Police held the man at gun point for about 20 minutes, until he finally gave up.
He made some phone calls from his cell phone and then got out of his truck, said Wold. He did have a loaded weapon. No shots were fired and no one was injured.
Because he would not get out of the vehicle, traffic was stopped on U.S. 6 in both directions, and from getting in or out of surrounding business parking lots. Traffic was directed by officers to take back roads that parallel U.S. 6.
The restaurant does not sell liquor and, as of press time, Wold said they did not know where Wolfinbarger had been drinking prior to the incident.
As of about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Wold said Wolfinbarger was being booked at the Channahon police station and would be released on bond. He said Oswego Chief Dwight Baird was on his way to the Channahon station.
Businesses in the plaza were shut down, as was a nearby bank, during the incident, said Wold. The chief said none of the places were evacuated by the police, but witnesses who were in at least one of the businesses said they were told to evacuate through the back door and had to leave their cars in the parking lot.
“We apologize for any inconvenience, but we just were not sure how this was going to pan out and we didn’t want any bystander injuries,” said Wold.
Illinois State Police, Grundy County Sheriff’s police, Minooka, Shorewood, Wilmington and Plainfield assisted Channahon.
“This was the best possible solution. No one got hurt and traffic was not jammed up for hours,” said the chief.