Charges have been upgraded for a former Indiana police officer who authorities say brought a concealed weapon into a professional golf tournament in Lake Forest last month.
Mark Fedder, 48, who authorities initially said was from Westmont but was later determined to be from Osceola, Ind., now faces a felony count of unlawful use of a weapon for trying to enter the BMW Championship at Conway Farms with a handgun.
Fedder was originally charged Sept. 16 with a misdemeanor count of attempted obstruction of justice after his arrest.
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said the charge was upgraded because Fedder tried to enter the public event with a concealed weapon without a conceal and carry permit. Nerheim said bringing a weapon to a public event and not having a permit to carry are violations under the state's new conceal and carry law.
"Even if Mr. Fedder had a valid concealed and carry permit, it would have precluded him from carrying a weapon to a public event, like the golf outing," Nerheim said, adding charge was upgraded after speaking with state appellate court attorneys.
Defense attorney Thomas Briscoe said Fedder habitually wears his firearm on his belt because conceal and carry laws allow him to do so in Indiana.
Briscoe said Fedder, who worked as police officer in Mishawaka, Ind.,. until leaving the department in 2012, forgot the weapon was strapped to his waist when he entered Illinois to volunteer at the golf tournament.
He said Fedder informed security officials at Conway Farms about the sidearm when he got to the front of the volunteer line.
"It was merely an accident in the first place," Briscoe said. "He wore it out of habit and didn't realize that he had it on when he went to volunteer."
A volunteer services coordinator for the tournament acknowledged Fedder was a volunteer at the BMW Championship.
"He told the security people about the weapon when he got there. He wasn't trying to get in with it," Briscoe said. "It was just a mistake."
Fedder was due to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge in court Wednesday but was shifted to bond court because of the new charge.
Lake County Judge Joseph Salvi released Fedder after keeping his bond at $1,500. Fedder is due back in court Nov. 6.
Briscoe said he expects the case to be resolved rather than bringing the issue to trial.