A suspect in the non-fatal shooting of a 32-year-old police officer in Romeoville on Thursday morning has been charged with armed robbery over an unrelated incident but could face a charge of attempted murder over the officer’s shooting, police said.
Samer Hernandez, 29, who was on parole from prison, was arrested about 5:45 a.m. Thursday following an overnight manhunt and a local shelter in place order near Sierra Trail and Summerfield Drive, according to a news release from the Romeoville Police Department.
The manhunt followed an incident about 12:15 a.m. when officers found a stolen vehicle in the Romeoville. When officers approached the vehicle, a suspect had fled on foot, sparking a foot chase and an exchange of gunfire near the intersection of Sierra Trail and Summerfield Drive, police said.
Hernandez is the suspect in the shooting of Romeoville Police Officer Dominic Thielman, 32, who began his job with the department in 2017, Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Brant Hromadka said.
Thielman, assigned to the department’s investigation unit as a tactical officer, suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder and was rushed to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. He is listed in stable condition, Hromadka said.
On Thursday evening, Hromadka announced Hernandez has been charged with armed robbery over a stolen vehicle incident May 20.
Charges for the attempted murder of Thielmann are pending the completion of an investigation by an outside law enforcement agency, Hromadka said.
Hernandez has been transported to the Will County jail, where he will remain locked up on $5 million bond.
“The Romeoville Police Department would like to express sincere gratitude to those who have showed their support for Officer Thielmann and his family,” Hromadka said.
Hernandez was paroled from prison June 27, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was admitted to prison Aug. 11, 2021, to serve a two-year sentence on an aggravated unlawful use of a weapon conviction in Cook County.
Maricel Betz, who lives near the intersection of Sierra Trail and Summerfield Drive, said she heard gunshots about 12:15 a.m. and then saw numerous squad vehicles in the area. She said she and her family didn’t sleep and “didn’t know what to do.”
“We weren’t sure why there were so many squad cars. It was really scary,” Betz said.
We never expected this to happen. This is a family neighborhood. It’s a little scary.”— Marciel Betz, Romeoville resident
She said she learned later Thursday morning that an officer was shot. She said she hopes the officer is doing well.
“We never expected this to happen. This is a family neighborhood. It’s a little scary,” Betz said.
Joseph Duarte, who lives on Summerfield Drive, said he heard about six shots sounding like fireworks about midnight Thursday.