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Holiday Hills shooting trial: McHenry County Sheriff's deputies testify about 'ambush'

Defense argues Scott Peters thought it was break-in attempt not law enforcement at his door

WOODSTOCK – It started as a routine call for police service.

It's about 1:16 a.m. Well-being check. Third party caller from Michigan. Woman believes her husband, 52-year-old Scott B. Peters would kill her.

McHenry County Sheriff's Deputies Dwight Maness, Khalia Satkiewicz and Eric Luna respond to the Holiday Hills home. It's 1:16 a.m. on a Thursday. They park down the street and leave the lights turned off on their squad cars.

Maness and Satkiewicz take the front door, and Luna circles around the back of the home.

Within minutes of responding Maness and Satkiewicz are shot and injured, and Luna is returning Peters' fire, according to testimony.

Peters is standing trial this week on allegations that he shot at the deputies. In the first day of testimony, three deputies – for the first time publicly – detailed the events that occurred on Oct. 16, 2014.

Peters has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including seven for attempted murder of a police officer.

Deputy Maness was wheeled before the jury. The bullets shattered his femur and severed a vein in his leg. Peters sat across the courtroom, sitting motionless and straight faced as he watched the proceedings unfold.

"It was a nondescript night. … The kinds of things these deputies who serve and protect do every day," Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs said in his opening statement.

"… They were doing their job serving and protecting every one of us, and in return for that were shot."

The officers knocked. No answer. They knocked a few more times before Peters answered, but refused to open the door, Maness said. There was some back and forth, then Peters invited the deputies inside.

"He said, 'come on in,' " Deputy Satkiewicz said, raising the inflection in her voice.

The deputies continued to ask Peters to come outside.

"It seemed like we were walking into an ambush," Maness said.

That's when Maness said Peters yelled: "If we're going to do this, let's do this," and then finally he shouted: "Airborne!" and began firing through his front door.

Hearing the gunshots, Luna ran to the front of the house. Amid a volley of gunfire, Peters, according to Luna's testimony, yelled, "I'm a U.S. Army paratrooper. I hope you're ready to die today."

Maness was shot in the back, and both he and Satkiewicz were shot in the left leg. Luna was uninjured.

As the deputies retreated to safety, Peters advanced and continued firing, prosecutors said.

At one point, Maness and Satkiewicz met each other's eyes.

"She said, 'Dwight, I've been hit,' " Maness said.

Satkiewicz provided tearful testimony as her husband and two young children watched from the front row. From the witness stand, she described seeing a bullet hit Maness' leg, as he "yelped out in pain."

Satkiewicz frantically crawled to their squad cars to look for a tourniquet for Maness, she said, but had dropped her keys as she fled from the bullets.

"I could hear him calling me. 'Khalia I need your help,' " she said, voice trembling. "But I couldn't get into the car."

Later, she described the sound of glass shattering and bullets whizzing past her head.

"It was inches from head," she said. "Had I turned to the right it would have hit my head."

Maness said that once he was shot, he crawled about 100 feet into a ditch. Prosecutors showed pictures of the blood-stained street, and a long trail of blood, presumably left by Maness when Island Lake Officer Gilbert Hueramo dragged him to safety. Hueramo was first on the scene and applied a tourniquet that a doctor testified saved Maness' life.

Prosecutors showed a 20-minute video of footage taken from the dash camera in Hueramo's police car. The video shows Hueramo racing to get to the scene through a dark and rainy night, as a dispatcher sounds off in the in the background: "Shots fired. Officers hit." Hueramo breathlessly tries to drag Maness to safety as Maness screams out in pain.

In his opening statement, Assistant Public Defender Rick Behof said that Peters didn't realize it was law enforcement who were at his front door and thought someone was trying to break in.

It wasn't until Peters was outside and saw the squad cars parked down the street and thought, "Oh, crap, I just shot at cops," Behof said in his opening statement.

"On Oct. 16, Scott Peters made a horrible, horrible mistake and rushed to judgment. Don't make the same mistake," Behof told the jurors. "He never had the intent to kill anyone, let alone two deputies."

Testimony revealed that Peters has four surveillance cameras placed at his home, including one directed at the front door. But Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos pointed out that the surveillance gear was turned off when police searched Peters' home.

After the shooting, Peters fled the area, and led police on a 16-hour manhunt until he was apprehended six miles away, just outside of Crystal Lake.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather is presiding over the trial. It will continue Wednesday, and closing arguments are expected Thursday.

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