Bail set at $75K for off duty police officer

Country Club Hills police officer John Silas, 38, was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm. (Cook County Sheriff's Department / July 22, 2014)

A judge set bail at $75,000 today for a south suburban police officer accused of firing his handgun while off-duty in Country Club Hills, with one of the rounds ending up in a wall inside someone's home, authorities said.

Country Club Hills police officer John Silas, 38, charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, was in court today before Markham Courthouse Judge Darren Bowden, who set bail at $75,000, according to a statement from the Cook County state's attorney's office.

According to Ben Briet, a spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff's office, the department's inspector general's office investigated the incident and brought the case to the state's attorney's office in May for charges.

On the evening of March 8, police officers responded to a 911 emergency call from the resident of a home in the 17000 block of Baker Court in Country Club Hills. The resident said she'd been sitting on a couch next to the front window seconds before a bullet crashed through the window and lodged into a wall, prosecutors said.

When police got there, they also discovered a bullet that had been fired from an SUV parked in the driveway of a friend of Silas at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said.

Police learned that at around 8 p.m., after consuming alcohol, Silas, who was visiting the friend, had pulled out the handgun and fired several rounds into the ground. One of those rounds apparently ricocheted and ended up hitting the victim's house.

Prosecutors also said that Silas called one of the officers who had responded to the scene and asked them to do him the "favor" of removing the evidence recovered from the victim's home. During a second phone call to the officer, Silas admitted he had been shooting bullets into the ground when one accidentally went through the victim's window, prosecutors said.

Test results from the Illinois State Police forensics lab verified that the bullet recovered from the victim's wall came from Silas' gun.

Silas will appear in court again on Aug.22.

meltagouri@tribune.com | Twitter: @marwaeltagouri