A 76-year-old landlord accused in the fatal shooting his tenet will not be charged by authorities at this time. Deputies with the Will County Sheriff’s Office were called to the 100 block of Pendleton Street in Unincorporated Lockport Township on Sunday morning in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon deputies arriving on scene, the suspect a 76-year-old man was taken into custody, and the Lockport Township Fire Department transported the victim to a local area hospital. The victim, 36-year-old, Patrick Bernotas, was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators arrived on scene and began to conduct the investigation. The residence where the incident occurred was said to be deplorable conditions. The Will County Sheriff’s Office also stated that they believe that it is unfit for anyone to live in.
Upon detectives interviewing the suspect, it was learned that Bernotas and the suspect got into a verbal argument over money owed for back rent, in the amount of $20,000. The suspect wrote up a five-day notice of eviction and gave the document to Bernotas. The suspect stated that this enraged Bernotas, and he threatened to harm 76-year-old suspect.
The suspect went into his bedroom, which is located on the lower level of the residence, to avoid Bernotas. The suspect stated that he closed his bedroom door, and the argument continued through the partially closed door.
The 76-year-old was fearful that a physical altercation would occur, so he took out his loaded handgun which he stores in-between the cushion and an armrest of a chair. The suspect stated that Bernotas swung open the door in an aggressive manner and fearing that he was about to be battered, fired one round striking Bernotas in the chest. The suspect stated that he was aiming for Bernotas’ shoulder.
Bernotas retreated up the five stairs that lead to his bedroom, and collapsed on a couch in the living room. The suspect stated that he then dialed 911 to report the incident, and began performing CPR on Bernotas shortly thereafter.
After reviewing the case, the State’s Attorney’s Office elected not to charge the suspect with a crime at this time.