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Plainfield Man Charged With Attempting to Kill Wife, Shooting Stepdaughter

Police Chief John Konopek declined to discuss a motive but describes the attack as 'spontaneous'; officers say the shooter might have mental health 'issues.'

A 75-year-old Plainfield man has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with a gun attack on his wife and stepdaughter Tuesday morning.

Albert A. Jonas is accused of shooting the two women at about 6 a.m. in the single-family home they shared at 14531 General Drive in the Liberty Grove subdivision. Neither woman has been identified by police, but property records indicate the wife's name is Linda J. Jonas.

Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said they're still investigating the motive for the attack, in which the 62-year-old wife suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and right leg and her daughter, 25, was shot in the head.

"Basically, that's something we're still trying to determine," Konopek said. "It appears to be a spontaneous thing, that it wasn't planned. There's no indication that there's been any recent arguments."

The charges were filed by the Will County State's Attorney's office, he said. Jonas faces two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of attempted first-degree murder, the latter charge tied to his attack on his wife.

Konopek would not speculate on why Jonas was not charged with attempted murder in connection with the stepdaughter's shooting, saying it was a decision made by prosecutors.

The stepdaughter underwent surgery Tuesday and is listed in critical condition at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora. Her mother's injuries are described as non-life threatening; she's being treated at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

Konopek said police are continuing to talk to Albert Jonas, and looking into whether he might be dealing with some mental health "issues."

Next-door neighbor Kim Vaughan said the couple, whom she knew only as Linda and Al, purchased their newly built, two-story frame house in 2005. They kept it in meticulous condition, she said.

The Jonases could be nice but they also had a history of fighting, Vaughan said. According to police Cmdr. Anthony Novak, police had been called to the home on two occasions — once in 2010, when senior services was asked to check on the welfare of Albert Jonas, and again in 2008 for a domestic disturbance.

No arrests were made in either case, and no grounds were found to substantiate any problem with Jonas' condition or care, Novak said.

Vaughan said she was stunned to learn there had been a shooting at the home. When she saw the yellow police tape around the house, she said she assumed there had been some sort of physical altercation between family members or that something might have happened to Albert Jonas, who has a history of heart problems.

Although they were friendly, waving hello when they saw family members outside, she said Linda Jonas could also become quite upset. She was often heard yelling at her husband and she frequently yelled at Vaughan's children and others in the neighborhood for coming too close to her property, she said.

"She was always screaming at him," Vaughan said. "He was very quiet, passive."

She also remembered one altercation her family had with Linda Jonas when the Vaughans had a backyard party that the wife thought had grown too loud.

"She would get upset if we had a lot of people over," Vaughan said. "She knew exactly where the property line was, and she would come and scream at us [if we encroached on her side]."

Yet the wife could also be friendly and nice, she said. Vaughan's daughter often stopped at the Romeoville Jewel Express gas station, where the wife was field center supervisor, and the woman was always pleasant to her, she said.

Vaughan said she had little contact with the stepdaughter and did not know her name. She said she believes she might have been a recent college graduate because the family held a party in her honor earlier this summer.

Novak said police obtained a search warrant to go through the house and a handgun was recovered. He didn't know caliber of the gun, but confirmed that three shots had been fired -- one victim was shot in one bedroom and the other in a different bedroom.

Novak said it was the wife who called the police from inside the home. A police detective was at the hospital in the hopes that she would be able to provide an account of what happened, he said.

Mike Kovalik, an employee at the Jewel Express, said Linda Jonas was his supervisor. She wasn't at work today because of a "family emergency," but he said he did not know the details.

"She's a very nice lady," said Kovalik, who said Jonas was transferred to the Romeoville gas station from the Plainfield Jewel store about five or six years ago. "I got along well with her."

But he also said she spoke about her husband occasionally and he knew they had personal problems.

"She used to say her husband was lazy," he said. "She talked about getting separated or divorced from him [about two months ago]."

Trustee Garrett Peck, who lives less than a block away from the crime scene, said he was stunned to learn about the shooting. He didn't know any of the people involved, he said.

"I am shocked," he said. "I cannot believe that happened."

The last gun-related incident in Plainfield took place about three years ago at the Meijer store gas station, Konopek said. In that case, the people involved knew each other and got into an altercation in which one shot the other, he said. None of the people involved were local, and the case is still pending in court, he said.

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