GILMAN — Jonathan Rubin was described as an excellent student who was "very intelligent and very quiet" during his time at Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley.
Mr. Rubin was consistently on the school's honor roll, earned the American Legion Award his senior year and was named co-valedictorian when he graduated in 2003, said Christ Lutheran's executive director, Sandy Spitz.
Spitz said the school community is "shocked and saddened" by the news that Mr. Rubin, 27, was shot and killed early Saturday morning as he was working at a gas station in Gilman.
"He was an excellent student — very studious, very, very intelligent — and he was very quiet," said Spitz, who remembers having Rubin in her science class during her first year at the school.
"He just made an impact on all of us. We remember him fondly," she said.
Saturday's crime — the first homicide in the county since 2009 — also came as a shock to the community of Gilman, where Mr. Rubin, a Danforth resident, worked as a clerk at the Shell gas station.
Mayor Rick Theesfeld said he could not recall another murder in Gilman, a town of about 1,800 people along Interstate 57.
"We've never had this happen in Gilman since I've been alive, that I can remember," the 55-year-old Theesfeld said. "People just can't hardly believe this happened here. ... Everybody's just hurt about it, that it happened in our community. ... We're all shocked, saddened, for the loss of a young life."
Theesfeld said the gas station where Mr. Rubin was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds remained closed Monday as the Iroquois County sheriff's office continues its investigation.
Theesfeld said he has spoken with a representative of the company that owns the gas station and was told that the station will be closed until after Mr. Rubin's funeral. Theesfeld also said the company has indicated it likely will not keep the gas station, located just west of the Interstate 57 exit at Gilman, open 24 hours per day anymore, at least in the near future.
Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagen said investigators have ruled out robbery as a motive in the murder. Hagen said investigators have sent evidence to the Illinois State Police crime lab in Springfield and are interviewing people who knew Mr. Rubin. They also have security video footage from inside the store, Hagen said.
Hagen did not immediately return messages requesting comment on the investigation's progress on Monday.
An autopsy Sunday morning determined that Mr. Rubin died from multiple gunshot wounds, Hagen said. Mr. Rubin was found unresponsive inside a storage room around 3:30 a.m. Saturday by a truck driver who had come in to use the restroom and buy coffee, Hagen said.
It was the first homicide in Iroquois County since 2009. Police investigated four murders that year.
Spitz said the Christ Lutheran High School community extends its sympathies to the Rubin family and is "keeping them in our prayers."
News-Gazette staff writer Patrick Wade contributed to this report.