By Bob Uphues
A 28-year-old North Riverside man was charged with disorderly conduct after an incident involving him and a 44-year-old woman in the parking lot of Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church, 250 Woodside Road, led to a lockdown of the preschool there and a manhunt involving two police K-9 units on Sept. 13.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said officers responded to the church at 8:42 a.m. after someone called 911 to report a disturbance involving screaming, yelling and breaking glass.
Before police arrived, the WC3 central dispatch center received multiple calls, said Weitzel, reporting that a man involved in the verbal altercation was armed with a gun and that he had taken off his T-shirt, wrapped it around the gun and was leaving the scene eastbound toward Riverside.
With the a gun reportedly involved and the incident occurring in a parking lot near the preschool, police informed the school and requested that they lock it down. The man was not located near the scene of the reported incident, so police began looking for the man on foot and in vehicles.
At 9:04 a.m. police in an unmarked car located the suspect at 26th Street and Harlem Avenue, trying to cross Harlem Avenue into Berwyn. He was detained without incident.
Weitzel said the man was not armed at the time of his arrest and that he denied ever having a gun in his possession. The man, said Weitzel, did possess an oversized cellphone in a black case, which might have been mistaken for a weapon at a distance.
Police called in a weapons-sniffing K-9 unit from Brookfield Zoo and a Cook County Sheriff's Police bloodhound to search the man's route through Riverside. The search near the church and in Riverside did not turn up any weapons.
Shattered glass found in the parking lot of the church was from a bowl that the man reportedly admitted to smashing during the argument. The woman involved in the altercation, a resident of an apartment building on Edgewater Road in North Riverside, reportedly told the police that the argument stemmed from an eviction notice she had received.
She also told police the man had not been armed, but otherwise refused to cooperate, Weitzel said. There were no signs that she had been harmed physically, he added.