CHICAGO (STMW) — A south suburban police officer was drinking at a friend’s house when he started firing his gun, sending bullets into a neighboring home and vehicle, then called another officer to try to have him hide the evidence.
That was the scenario laid out by Cook County prosecutors at the Markham courthouse Tuesday, where Country Clubs Hills police officer John Silas appeared on a charge of reckless discharge of a firearm, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Just after 5 p.m. on March 8, Silas got off work, and started drinking alcohol at a friend’s home in the 17000 block of Baker Street in Country Club Hills, a statement from prosecutors said.
Just before 8 p.m.. Silas pulled his .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun and “fired several rounds” toward the ground, according to prosecutors.
“One of the bullets crashed through the front window of a house located across the street and lodged into a wall,” prosecutors said. A resident of the home “had been sitting on a couch directly next to the front window just seconds before the bullet was fired” but was not injured.
The resident called 911 and several Country Club Hills officers responded, finding one bullet in the wall of the home, and another inside an “SUV that had been parked in the home’s driveway at the time,” prosecutors said.
Silas then tried to cover up his involvement, prosecutors alleged.
That evening, he “called one of the officers who had responded to the scene and asked the officer to do him a ‘favor’ by getting rid of evidence recovered from the home,” the statement said.
“During a second phone call to the officer, Silas acknowledged that he was shooting bullets into the ground when one accidently went into the front window of the home across the street,” prosecutors said.
The Illinois State Police Forensics Lab was able to confirm the bullet in the wall was fired from Silas’s gun.
In court Tuesday, Judge Darren Bowden ordered Silas held on a $75,000 bond, and set a preliminary hearing for Aug. 22.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office conducted the investigation into the allegations against Silas, after a Country Club Hills citizen filed a complaint with their Independent Inspector General hotline.
“Most of these suburbs have a watchdog or someone looking over them, but they can invite the sheriff’s office to come in as their inspector general,” sheriff’s office spokesman Benjamin Breit said. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide an extra layer of protection and oversight to the people of Country Club Hills.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)