Rankin residents: Dead robbery suspect kept to himself

December 14, 2010 8:35:17 PM PST
Will County investigators are not confirming reports that a gun belonging to a man shot and killed while trying to rob a suburban tanning salon is connected to a deadly shooting spree along the Illinois-Indiana border in October.

However, investigators say the suspect, Gary Amaya, fired a gun at a prostitute in Chicago hours before he was killed in Orland Park. The woman was not injured.

Amaya lived in Rankin, Illinois, which is south of Kankakee. Neighbors are talking about the case that's brought attention to their small town.

In the village of Rankin, 100 miles south of Chicago, residents typically know their neighbors. But there was one resident who apparently evaded getting close to his neighbors.

"I seen him around town. We wave at one another once in a while, but that is about it," said Bob Robinson.

Amaya apparently lived in his mother's old house on Fourth Avenue. Some of his neighbors thought the house was abandoned until Monday night.

"Seen a bunch of cars and vans and cops and yellow tape around the house," said Dakota Schmidt.

"I was flabbergasted. I never knew we had anybody in town. Like I said, I never seen the man. I heard the helicopter and heard sirens," said resident Maggie Diskin.

Police searched the home following shooting death of Amaya as he allegedly held two people hostage at an Orland Park tanning salon in a botched robbery. One of the would-be victims turned the gun on Amaya.

Police are investigating whether Amaya may have been involved in the "honeybee" shootings in October.

The mayor of Rankin is surprised that one of his residents may be involved in such a violent high profile case. He says the police chief never had run-ins with Amaya and he never met Amaya at town functions.

"Pretty bizarre. Pretty much kept to himself. He'd wave friendly and everything and hearing about it is just kind of shocking," said resident Bradley Simpson.

"We just heard the news and we're shocked. This is such a small town. You wouldn't think something like that would happen," said Amy Gilbert.

Residents in the small town have many questions about their neighbor as do investigators.


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