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.