Arrest made in connection with Crest Hill shootout outside Merichka’s resetaurant

Georgia authorities hold suspect; police continue to look for others

The windows are taped up and the wall are plastered a day after gunfire erupted outside Merichka’s.

Georgia authorities are holding a suspect from the April 2 shootout outside Merichka’s Restaurant in Crest Hill.

Dylan Debolt, 19, of Plainfield was arrested Friday in Georgia, Crest Hill Police Chief Ed Clark said.

Debolt is the first suspect to be arrested in the shootout that drew wide attention because it occurred in broad daylight along a busy street outside a restaurant that draws customers well beyond the Joliet area.

Debolt faces charges of unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated discharge of a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm.

“We’d like to thank the community for all the information they provided,” Clark said Sunday.

Windows are boarded up after being shot out across the street from Merichka’s on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Joliet.

He also commended investigators for doing “a really fantastic job” identifying Debolt as a suspect.

A warrant from Crest Hill police was issued for Debolt’s arrest before he was found in Georgia, Clark said. Police continue to look for other suspects in the shootout between gunmen on both sides of Theodore Street.

Theodore Street, a major commercial thoroughfare, runs between Crest Hill and Joliet.

The shootout occurred about 1 p.m.

No one is known to have been injured by the gunfire. But windows at Merichka’s and two businesses in a strip mall on the Joliet side of the street – Envisions Salon and Ascendant Iron – were hit by bullets.

Merichka’s closed for that day but reopened April 3 to a steady flow of customers, some of whom said they would not let the incident keep them from their regular visits to the restaurant.