Second person charged in deadly St. Charles home invasion

A second person has been charged in connection with a deadly home invasion in west suburban St. Charles earlier this year.

Jose L. Melendez, 33, of St. Charles, is charged with multiple felonies including attempted first-degree murder for the January 14 shooting that left one man dead and another injured, St. Charles police announced Thursday.

Panagiotis Koutroumbis, 26, of Lindenhurst, was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of home invasion, and aggravated unlawful restraint in January. He's being held at the Kane County Jail on a $1.5 million bond, according to court records.

About 7:37 p.m. the day of the attack, Koutroumbis was seen by officers dragging James Gherardini out of an apartment in the 100 block of Walnut Drive.

Jose L. Melendez (St. Charles Police Department)

Gherardini, 26, of Lindenhurst, had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation revealed that Koutroumbis, Gherardini and Melendez entered the apartment through an unlocked sliding glass door and reportedly zip-tied the hands of several occupants inside the apartment before demanding items from them, police said.

Investigators also learned that a resident made an open line phone call from their cell phone to a 25-year-old man from St. Charles. That man arrived at the apartment and was met by the armed suspects.

Panagiotis Koutroumbis | St. Charles Police Department

During an exchange of gunfire, Gheradini was fatally wounded and the 25-year-old was struck in the abdomen. He was driven to a local hospital where his condition was stabilized, police said.

Melendez fled the scene before officers arrived but was taken into custody Wednesday by the Kane County sheriff's office. In addition to the charge of attempted first-degree murder, Melendez also faces two counts of home invasion, a count of aggravated unlawful restraint, and one count of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Investigators said the incident was an isolated, targeted attack and that there was no threat to the public.