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Attorney staged his own shooting, authorities say

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A southern Indiana attorney who reported he was shot at McCormick’s Creek State Park on June 25 staged his own shooting, authorities say.

Peter Raventos, 43, of Bloomington, who practices in Spencer, was arraigned Monday in Owen Circuit Court on a Class D felony charge of obstruction of justice and a Class B misdemeanor charge of false informing, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Bond was set at $5,000.

Raventos called 911 at 10:05 p.m. June 25 and told conservation officers he was shot in the back by an unknown gunman. Conservation officers said evidence collected at the scene, in a search of Raventos’ car and his home suggested he staged the event to portray himself as the victim of a random shooting.

Raventos was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he was treated for wounds inflicted by more than 20 shotgun pellets. He later was released.

Authorities said Raventos’ claim of an assailant in the park quickly began to unravel.  From witness interviews and evidence, conservation officers concluded that Raventos rigged a shotgun so he could fire it at himself from some distance.

“It was quite unusual from the minute we arrived,” DNR Law Enforcement District 5 Commander Lt. Kent Hutchins said Monday. “Evidence indicates it was staged by himself.”

Conservation officers, McCormick’s Creek staff, the Owen County Sheriff’s Department, Spencer Police and Indiana State Police searched the park and nearby area for a possible suspect but found none, according to the news release.

Witness statements led conservation officers to an area of the park where the shooting was believed to have occurred, DNR said. There officers found bungee cords, fishing line, a spent shotgun shell, an unspent shotgun shell and a small piece of plywood embedded with shotgun pellets. Conservation officer K-9 units searching the area also found a shotgun wad — a small plastic cup inside a shotgun shell casing that separates the pellets from the gunpowder. When fired, the wad is expelled and falls to the ground.

Conservation officer scuba divers searched the nearby White River and located a 20-gauge shotgun that was later linked to Raventos.

Hutchins said witnesses also reported hearing the sound of gunshots near White River before Raventos reported the shooting.

Hutchins said he wouldn’t characterize Raventos as cooperating with the investigation. He reported that the investigation is complete and no further charges are expected.

“This incident, whatever the motive, placed needless fear in the public’s mind that our state parks are unsafe,” DNR Director Rob Carter said in statement. “We do everything we can to make state parks an enjoyable experience for visitors, above all families. I’m pleased that our Law Enforcement Division was able to get to the bottom of this and bring it to a quick resolution so the public can have peace of mind when they visit the park.”

Raventos could not be reached on Monday. A telephone message for his attorney, Christine Haseman, was not immediately returned.

Raventos was admitted to practice law in October 1995. He is listed as active in good standing on the Indiana Roll of Attorneys with no history of disciplinary action.


 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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