Crime & Courts

Spring Grove man accused of shooting at dog walker with pellet gun

Stephen J. Clarke, 60, of Spring Grove
Stephen J. Clarke, 60, of Spring Grove

A 60-year-old man accused of shooting a pellet gun at a dog walker later was found armed with a knife in the bedroom of his Spring Grove home, police said.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested a man Sunday who they believe shot a pellet gun at a 22-year-old who was walking his dog past the man's home.

Stephen J. Clarke was arrested at 5:15 p.m. after police received a report that someone was "assaulted with an air rifle," according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Police learned that the dog walker was in the area of the 39200 block of North Jackson Drive when Clarke allegedly shouted, "This is private property," and fired a pellet gun toward the man, according to the release.

Neither the 22-year-old nor his dog were struck, Lake County Sheriff's Office public information officer Christopher Covelli said Monday. The pellet came so close to the dog walker's head, however, that he heard it "whiz" by, Covelli said.

The alleged victim, who initially feared Clarke was using a real gun, left the area and dialed 911.

Others who were at Clarke's home when sheriff's deputies arrived told officials that Clarke was not there, according to the release.

One deputy, however, spotted Clarke inside the home through a window, and one of the occupants allowed police to go inside, the release stated.

At the time, Clarke was wanted on two separate Lake County arrest warrants for violating an order of protection. The grounds for the order were not available Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies and Fox Lake police entered the home and found Clarke hiding in a back bedroom armed with a knife, Covelli said. After the man ignored multiple requests to drop the knife, officers subdued him with a stun gun, according to the release.

Clarke was taken to Northwestern Memorial McHenry Hospital for evaluation and later was released to Lake County Sheriff’s deputies. He has been charged with aggravated assault, resisting a peace officer, unlawful use of a weapon and disorderly conduct.

The most serious charge, aggravated assault, is a felony typically punishable by as many as three years in prison. The remaining charges are misdemeanor counts that generally result in less than one year in jail. Clarke remained at the Lake County Jail on Monday morning on a $120,000 bond.A 60-year-old man accused of shooting a pellet gun at a dog walker later was found armed with a knife in the bedroom of his Spring Grove home, police said.

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