Lockport Township man now charged with hate crime in connection with shooting his neighbor

John Shadbar, 70, of Lockport Township has been charged with attempted murder and unlawful use of a firearm by a felon after allegedly shooting his neighbor on May 7.

Lockport — Lockport Township resident John “Pete” Shadbar was arraigned in a Will County courtroom Thursday after his arrest in connection with shooting his next-door neighbor Tuesday.

Shadbar was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card, three charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, criminal damage to property and a hate crime, according to court records.

In its motion to deny pretrial release, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office cited multiple witnesses who said they saw Shadbar, 70, shoot his neighbor on her property at West 144 Place in the Lockport Heights neighborhood in Lockport Township and shout racial slurs at her.

The shooting victim, 45, is white but lives with her adult stepson who is Black.

The shooting victim was shot in the hand and the abdomen, with the bullet exiting through her back, according to the state’s attorney’s office. She was taken to Silver Cross Hospital by Lockport Township Fire Protection District personnel in critical condition. She has reportedly undergone surgery and is expected to survive; however, she suffered serious injuries and may face permanent disability from those injuries, according to documents filed by the state’s attorney’s office.

According to court documents, the shooting victim and a friend were in her backyard with family members when the friend reported hearing Shadbar rev his motorcycle in the driveway, something that had happened in the past.

A witness said in a report to police that the shooting victim blew an air horn in Shadbar’s direction in response. The shooting victim had bought the air horn after previous incidents, including one in which Shadbar had shouted racist and sexist slurs at her and tossed fireworks onto her property, according to court documents.

The state’s attorney’s office noted that the Will County Sheriff’s Office has a record of the previous incident being reported.

According to court documents the shooting victim also had reported Shadbar in the past for pointing a rifle at her while calling her racist slurs and firing blanks down his driveway, which he claimed that he was doing to chase off coyotes.

Despite these reports, Shadbar was never arrested. The Will County Sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post on May 10, that “the Sheriff’s Office responded to a few calls the victim’s home that were minor, non-related issues and were resolved on the scene” and that “an initial investigation was conducted” in March 2024 after the fireworks incident but “due to lack of evidence, no arrest was made at that time.”

A Will County sheriff's deputy guards the intersection of 145th Place and S. 136th Avenue in the Lockport Heights neighborhood the evening of Tuesday. May 7, 2024.   Both Will County and Lockport police were at the scene.

On May 7, the witness said that she made sure the children went inside after Shadbar allegedly shouted threats and slurs over the fence. The witness was walking back outside to talk to the shooting victim when the witness heard gunshots. According to the witness’s statements in the state’s attorney’s office filing, the shooting victim walked toward Shadbar with her cellphone recording, thinking that he was shooting blanks from a rifle, when she fell to the ground bleeding.

The witness opened the door and helped the shooting victim crawl inside the house before calling 911. This account was verified to police by another witness who was present at the time of the shooting and by the shooting victim herself before she went into surgery, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

The victim’s 21-year-old stepson was not home at the time his stepmother was shot.

According to the state’s attorney’s office, neighbors also verified the account of hearing the gunshots and told police at the scene Tuesday that Shadbar was a vocal racist and had harassed the shooting victim on previous occasions. Several neighbors also provided video of the incident captured on their cellphones after the disturbance began, which helped lead to the charges against Shadbar, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

After the shooting, Shadbar reportedly returned in his own home. His wife, who works for the Illinois Department of Corrections, told police that she had heard the shots and her husband swearing when he came in and distanced herself from him, according to the state’s attorney’s office. She reportedly left the house when police arrived while Shadbar reportedly barricaded himself in the bedroom, according to court records.

Eventually, a Will County Sheriff’s Office negotiator was able to convince Shadbar to surrender to police.

After obtaining a search warrant, the state’s attorney’s office reported that police entered the Shadbars’ home and found multiple firearms, which his wife said she was not aware her husband owned. Those firearms include an AK-47-style rifle that police believe was used in the shooting, as well as a shotgun, two rifles and two handguns, in addition to hundreds of rounds of ammunition. None of the guns that were recovered fit the wife’s description of her service weapon.

Several of the guns were found behind hidden, removable panels inside the garage along with boxes of ammunition, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

Multiple guns were uncovered behind a hidden panel inside John Shadbar's garage during a police search of the property.

The spent rounds recovered from the victim’s and Shadbar’s property match the caliber of the AK-47-style rifle that was discovered in Shadbar’s bedroom, according to court documents.

Further charges may be filed pending confirmation of Shadbar’s previous criminal record, which may have prohibited him from owning a gun.

According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, Shadbar was arrested on felony charges in 1979, which is when his FOID card was revoked.

No one from the Sheriff’s Office was available to comment on why Shadbar was not arrested for a FOID card violation when the victim reported him pointing a gun at her.

After the hearing Thursday, the court found cause for Shadbar to be detained and denied a motion for pretrial release. Shadbar was remanded into the custody of the Will County Sheriff’s Office, and a preliminary court hearing is scheduled for May 23.