Man accused of shooting McHenry Co. cops had rocky military history
The man accused of shooting two McHenry County deputies had an "expert" rifle rating -- the Army's top grade -- along with a troubled and checkered service history, military records show.
Scott B. Peters was discharged from active duty with the U.S. Army as a private after serving from February 1980 through May 1983, according to military records obtained by the Daily Herald through a public records request.
His service record also lists him as AWOL twice. He was cited for "desertion" once, and he served at least three stints in a military jail totaling more than 40 days in confinement.
The 52-year-old Peters finds himself behind bars again on $1 million bail.
Authorities spent most of the day Friday collecting evidence in and around Peters' Holiday Hills home on the 1300 block of Northeast Shore Drive.
Police recovered a rifle Friday afternoon from a small creek about three blocks from the site where the two deputies were shot and wounded. They also discovered a bulletproof vest and combat helmet in the area after "evidence and information obtained during the investigation led detectives" to the creek, a news release stated.
Sheriff's officials said they "believe the rifle recovered is the one that could have been used in the shooting."
Authorities described the weapon as an AR15 rifle. Peters did not have the rifle with him when he was arrested Thursday afternoon. State police said he did not possess a firearm owner identification card.
A team of six law enforcement personnel used a side-scan sonar device to look for the weapon. The device was attached to a boat manned by two people and guided by four other officers in the water. About 20 other law enforcement and fire district officials were on shore.
Police said Peters fired several shots through a closed front door at deputies as they arrived about 1:15 a.m. Thursday, then went outside and fired several more shots at officers. A third deputy on the scene returned cover fire for the two wounded deputies, but police theorized he fled the house on foot during the commotion.
Khalia Satkiewicz, a 12-year veteran of the force, was shot in the right leg. She was reported in good condition Friday at Centegra Hospital-McHenry.
The second officer, Dwight Maness, a seven-year veteran, was shot in the leg and abdomen. He was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. He was in fair condition Friday, hospital officials said.
At a Friday morning bond court hearing in McHenry County, Peters limped into the proceedings. Charges include two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, punishable by 20 to 80 years in prison on each count with no parole, and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison.
Peters would have to post $100,000 to be released. A status hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 21.
McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and Michael Combs, chief of the office's criminal division, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse in Woodstock but declined to discuss the domestic dispute that led to the shooting early Thursday morning or other details of the case.
"I don't know anything about this guy other than what happened," Combs said. He added that Peters did not have a criminal record in McHenry County. Checks by the Daily Herald of DuPage, Kane and Lake counties showed nothing other than traffic offenses.
The hunt for Peters a day earlier froze the normally quiet suburb in northern McHenry County.
"The community is relieved," Bianchi said. "It's always a terrible situation when anyone gets shot, but particularly a police officer."
Peters' wife and 12-year-old daughter, who were in the house at the time of the disturbance, were not injured, authorities said.
Neighbors described Peters as quiet but friendly. They said Peters was often seen fishing at a nearby lake.
"I don't think any of us were in danger from him at any time," said Debbie Pristop, who lives adjacent to the vacant lot where the rifle was retrieved from the creek. "I don't think he would have done anything to any of us if we came face to face with him."
Pristop said she and Peters would always greet one another and exchange pleasantries. Other neighbors echoed similar opinions.
Mike Moore called Peters "friendly" during the decade or so they've lived on the same street. Moore said he heard what he thought was a garbage can being knocked over early Thursday morning but didn't learn until later that it was gunshots that disrupted the peace of the usually calm neighborhood.
"Any time people start shooting people, it's out of the ordinary," he said.
Police continued scouring Peters' home for evidence Friday afternoon, collecting more firearms that were not used during the shooting, according to officials. Yellow police tape was still draped around the house, and evidence technicians and investigators were seen coming and going out of the house all day.
Peters did not have an attorney in court Friday, but a public defender will be appointed.
Peters told McHenry County Associate Judge Robert A. Wilbrandt he was not working and receives $1,000 a month in veterans benefits. He said he last worked five years ago when he tried to run a "mechanical business." There were no details about what that involved.
Peters had been on the loose for almost 16 hours when he was arrested about 6 miles from his house. The arrest occurred just before 5 p.m. Thursday near Route 176 and Smith Road in Crystal Lake after he was spotted by two passers-by, who told police they saw a suspicious man walking out from a wooded area. The manhunt involved 250 police officers.
Sheriff Keith Nygren said there had been no history of domestic disturbances at the household before Thursday.
Authorities said the initial 911 call came from a friend of Peters' wife, who was called during the domestic disturbance. That woman asked police for a well-being check.
• Daily Herald staff writers Lee Filas, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Russell Lissau and Mick Zawislak contributed to this story.