Prosecutors have charged an Elgin man with two separate random attacks in Logan Square since September — one with a knife and another with a hammer and a machete. Incredibly, prosecutors said police seized the man’s car and found evidence from the first attack inside the vehicle, but he was not charged with any crime. Authorities gave him his car back only to have him carry out the second assault in November.
Banner Sperlazzo, 28, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Judge Charles Beach ordered him held without bail.
Assistant State’s Attorney Leonore Carlson said Sperlazzo first attacked a man who was walking home on the 2600 block of North Drake at 1:10 a.m. on September 5.
The victim heard footsteps running up behind him and tried to run away, but he soon saw a nine- to 12-inch knife appear at his right side and plunge into his abdomen, Carlson said.
“In the name of Jesus Christ,” the attacker said as he slashed at the victim several more times.
Carlson said the victim ran away, but he saw his attacker and a car idling in the street near the attack site. The victim underwent two surgeries during a two-week hospitalization to repair injuries to his intestines and spleen. Carlson said he also received multiple stitches for lacerations, including one that stretched from his cheek to his nose.
CPD license plate readers detected Sperlazzo’s car in the area at the time of the attack, and they showed photos of his vehicle to a witness who confirmed that it was the one that the attacker used to get away, Carlson said.
Mount Prospect police towed Sperlazzo’s car after a traffic stop on September 27, and Chicago police officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle in connection with the knife attack. Carlson said cops found blood-stained pants in the car and DNA testing later confirmed that the blood came from the attack victim. She did not say when police received the DNA test results.
Sperlazzo was not charged at the time, and police returned the car to him, Carlson said.
On November 20, a man walking his dog on the 2200 block of North St. Louis nodded to a man passing him on the sidewalk around 2:40 a.m. He suddenly felt a hard object strike him in the back of the head and turned around to see Sperlazzo standing there with a hammer, Carlson said.
Sperlazzo then allegedly pulled a machete from a sheath worn across his chest and lunged at the victim.
According to Carlson, the victim ran away, and Sperlazzo chased him for about 10 seconds before returning to his car and leaving the area. The victim reportedly suffered a concussion and received five or six staples to close up the head injury.
Chicago police spotted Sperlazzo’s car on the 3000 block of North Halsted on Sunday and took him into custody during a traffic stop. He admitted to being at the attack sites and having bloody pants in his car, but he denied being involved in the assaults, Carlson said.
Both victims, who do not know Sperlazzo, identified him in live line-ups.
Carlson did not say why prosecutors didn’t charge Sperlazzo after police seized his car following the first attack.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said Sperlazzo is homeless and works for Grubhub.
On November 25, Chicago police issued a community alert about a White man who had attacked three people with a hammer and machete. Sperlazzo is charged with two of those incidents.
In the third case, which Sperlazzo is not charged with, a man was slashed repeatedly with a machete by a man who attacked him as he walked his dog on the 5800 block of West Altgeld around 2:40 a.m. on November 24.