An ongoing and escalating problem with an adjacent tenant boiled over Tuesday at the Moreno’s On Main restaurant in McNabb.
At 1:47 p.m., the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a call that a male with a machete, later identified as Billy J. Marcano, 31, had broken through a locked interior door in the back of the restaurant and entered while making threats.
“I’m so thankful Andy Jackson (director of the Putnam County Emergency Medical Services) was here because I just froze,” Linda Moreno, owner of the restaurant, said Wednesday morning.
“Andy told us all to get out, and he helped keep everyone safe until the police arrived,” Moreno said.
“I’m just happy everything ended peacefully and without anyone being hurt,” Jackson said at the restaurant.
Moreno, who was determined to continue business as usual, said Marcano had been a tenant in the apartment for almost a year, but that recent problems with him concerning parking issues had quickly escalated. She added that she wishes law enforcement could have done more to defuse the intensifying situation with Marcano in the days prior to the standoff.
Despite warnings to not park along the street during snowfall, Marcano allegedly had done so, and his vehicle was then blocked in by the snow deposited from passing snowplows.
Putnam County Sheriff Kevin Doyle said the only history they had had with Marcano was minor and was in regard to the parking issues.
“He was bothering customers outside on the sidewalk and was making a lot of noise and banging on the wall. He destroyed the inside of the apartment. I’m afraid to go look at it,” Moreno said.
The day after the seven-hour standoff, shards of glass littered the sidewalk near Moreno’s from where Marcano broke out the apartment windows. Plastic sheeting now covers them. A Shaw Media reporter was granted access to the apartment to survey the interior damage.
The legs of a metal chair were stuck into a wall, and two golf clubs also protruded from different walls. There were several large holes made in the walls, pieces of furniture, and the back of a refrigerator, which had been moved to the middle of the room.
The couch was tipped on end. Duct work and wiring had been ripped from the ceiling. The furnace was smashed, and vent pipes had been ripped off. Smashed items, including a television, were strewn everywhere.
“The situation quickly escalated, and we’re happy we were able to end it peacefully and without anyone being hurt,” Doyle said.
Moreno said Marcano also went to an upstairs apartment, broke in, and took that tenant’s cigarettes before returning to his apartment. He remained there until the standoff ended at approximately 9 p.m. when he surrendered to law enforcement and was taken into custody without further incident.
Moreno also mentioned Marcano’s rambling, violent social media posts.
“At a stand off. I assure you people of this area. My blood is on your hands. And God will avenge me.” Marcano posted on Facebook during the incident.
During the standoff, the entrances to the village were blocked off by the McNabb, Magnolia and Hennepin fire departments, along with help from the Putnam County Office of Emergency Management.
Businesses along Main Street were asked to lock down and for employees to remain inside until law enforcement alerted them that the area was once again safe.
Putnam County Schools were contacted, and area buses were rerouted to the McNabb Fire Station where students could then be picked up safely. Several evacuated residents also used the fire station until receiving word it was safe to re-enter the village.
“We’re lucky this ended peacefully. There were a lot of prayers being said while we waited in there,” resident Betty Johnson said while sitting at a table in Moreno’s.
Moreno also wanted to be sure to thank those who came to McNabb’s aid during the crisis, including Magnolia resident Peggy Smith, who brought movies to the fire station for the waiting children, and Grandma Rosie’s, The Clover Club, and Maryfran Crist for the food they sent.
“I’m happy to have seen everyone working together to get this resolved peacefully, and I’m glad no one got hurt. The community really came together during this, and I want to thank everyone for all they’ve done for us,” Moreno said.
Doyle said the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by numerous agencies, including the Spring Valley Police Department, Marshall County, La Salle County and the Illinois State Police.
Marcano is being held on a Putnam County warrant for burglary, and he is likely to face additional charges from the Putnam County State’s Attorney’s Office when he appears in Putnam County Court on Thursday.