Web Extra! Updated 5:04 p.m. 05/07/2009
Riverside police are reporting that seven bullets fired at a home in the 300 block of Scottswood Road on Wednesday morning were actually intended for the house of a neighbor – Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the small-caliber rounds struck the front door and front window of the home, which is next door to Peraica’s. Two of the rounds were recovered from the door itself and one from in front of the door. Five others went through the front window and landed inside at the base of the window, Weitzel said.
No shell casings were found at the scene, leading police to believe that the shots were fired from inside a vehicle, which police described as a dark-colored midsize four-door car with a loud muffler.
“We have interviewed many of the neighbors, and none of them have any known enemies or professions that would have provoked an attack,” Weitzel said. “The facts, as we have them today, lead us to believe that the intended target was Mr. Peraica’s residence.”
Peraica said he was awakened by five “popping” sounds and looked out his window to see what had happened.
“I didn’t see any lights or anything,” Peraica said. “There was nothing out of the ordinary, so I yawned and went back to bed.”
It wasn’t until about 8 p.m. Wednesday night when Riverside police showed up at his front door that Peraica found out about the shots fired. After talking with police, he spoke to his neighbors.
“They were strangely more concerned about me than themselves,” Peraica said.
Peraica said he had not received any threats recently that explain why he might have been targeted.
“I’m always involved with projects investigating corruption in the city and county, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Peraica said. “I just can’t imagine that someone would go to this extreme to use a weapon to shoot at someone’s house.”
According to police, the department received two reports of possible gunshots fired around 3:05 a.m. in the area of Scottswood Road. Officers patrolled the area, but couldn’t locate any suspects.
Later that morning, a resident in the 300 block of Scottswood phoned police to report damage from bullets shot at their home. Police believe that in the dark, the offenders simply targeted the wrong home.
“This wasn’t a random act of violence,” Weitzel said. “That’s not where the evidence is leading us now.”
Riverside police have contacted the Cook County Sheriff’s Police and have ordered a special watch on Peraica’s home as a precaution.
Peraica said that Cook County police are proceeding as if he were a target and are coordinating with Riverside to increase police presence in the area.
“When you stand up for what’s right and then you’re intimidated, I get the message,” Peraica said. “Obviously, this is of great concern for me, my family and the neighborhood.
“Whatever we can do from a law enforcement point of view, I want to make sure we get done.”
Anyone with information about the case is being asked to call Detective Sgt. David Krull at 447-2127, ext. 284.