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Holiday Hills shooting suspect caught; McHenry County deputies recovering

HOLIDAY HILLS – A near 16-hour manhunt Thursday for a Holiday Hills man who allegedly shot and wounded two sheriff deputies ended with the help of residents.

Two residents near the area of Smith Road and Terra Cotta Avenue, east of Crystal Lake, called the McHenry County Sheriff's office about 5 p.m. to report a suspicious man, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, walking down Smith Road.

Three sheriff deputies moved in and arrested Scott B. Peters, a 52-year-old Holiday Hills resident, who was found unarmed and surrendered without incident, Sheriff Keith Nygren said. He was not wounded when police arrested him.

The arrest capped a whirlwind day in the county that began at 1:16 a.m. Thursday, when three other sheriff deputies responded to a domestic dispute at Peters' home along Northeast Shore Drive in Holiday Hills. As the officers approached, Peters allegedly shot and wounded two unidentified deputies while a third returned fire and provided cover, Nygren said.

It was the first time a deputy was shot in McHenry County since the early 1980s, Nygren said.

"The day ends on a positive note," Nygren said at a press conference Thursday night. "The neighbors who live in Holiday Hills can return to their homes, knowing that this incident is over and their community is safe again."

Nearly 250 officers from Lake and Cook counties, the state, the U.S. Marshal, FBI, sheriff's office and police from local jurisdictions assisted in the search for Peters, who fled his home after wounding the two deputies, Nygren said.

Investigators don't yet know how Peters evaded the search for multiple hours or how he made his way from Holiday Hills to an unincorporated area between Prairie Grove and Crystal Lake. They continued to talk with Peters late Thursday night, Nygren said.

Initially considered armed and dangerous, Peters fled his home with the rifle but ditched it later in the day, as police used armored vehicles and helicopters to search for him, Nygren said. Police continued the search for the rifle late Thursday.

Vehicles from a multitude of police agencies continuously pulled in to assist local police for the search for Peters hours after the initial incident. Armed officers with K9 units could be seen walking from house to house, knocking on doors and talking to neighbors.

"Obviously, he was not in plain sight," Nygren said. "We had aerial searches, ground searches, grid searches in that [Holiday Hills] area and didn't come up with him. I think it's safe to say he was secreted somewhere in the immediate area."

Peters, who police said had served in the military at one time, was wanted for two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police weren't immediately disclosing Peters' professional background. A general contracting construction company, though, is listed at his home address.

Nygren would not comment on Peters' motive and decision to fire at the deputies. Peters is being held on $1 million bond, and is due for an initial court appearance at 8:30 a.m. Friday, in Woodstock.

Nygren said the deputies arrived at Peters' residence after a friend of Peters' wife, who lived in Michigan, called for a well being check.

As the shootout with deputies unfolded outside of the Holiday Hills home, the wife and their 12-year-old daughter safely escaped. They assisted investigators throughout the day, Nygren said.

"The [third deputy] did his best to provide cover, protect and return fire at that time," Nygren said. "It would have been very possible because of that situation for the offender to slip away, and we believe that is what happened."

A female deputy, a 12-year veteran of the force, was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry with a gunshot wound to the leg.

A male deputy, with seven years on the force, was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville in critical condition after being shot in the leg and abdomen. Each deputy wore a bulletproof vest.

Both deputies underwent surgery and both were talking with family and their fellow deputies Thursday evening, Nygren said.

"They had very serious, life-threatening injuries, but the surgery and medical care were second to none," he said. "I think they will recover, but it's going to be a long road."

Apart from police vehicles, nobody was allowed into the neighborhood as of 2 p.m., leaving several area residents waiting. Police remained on scene but allowed residents to return to their homes late Thursday afternoon.

Richard Koidahl, 21, was trying to leave for work a little before 8 a.m. He walked outside his house on Bittersweet Avenue, a little less than a mile from the scene, and Koidahl said he was met with chaos.

"There were probably over 40 cop cars and SWAT team everywhere," he said looking toward the blocked-off neighborhood.

Another resident, Mike Drake, says he drove out to drop his son off for school, but was not allowed back into the neighborhood.

"I went to the cafe and had breakfast, went to Wal-Mart and shopped around, went to Goodwill and shopped around, went to McDonald's and came back," Drake said almost seven hours after he initially left his house. "I'm tired and just want to get home. ... I'm concerned my wife is home by herself."

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