Six to seven shots fired were reported at the front entrance of Sidetrack Tavern on East Illinois Street in Evansville early Sunday Morning. Evansville Police Officer Ward responded to the scene, and says he saw a person later identified as John Perteet near a maroon 2002 GMC Envoy with an Indiana plate that was stopped in the street facing west. In the Affidavit of Probable Cause Evansville Police say when Perteet saw Officer Ward, he immediately began walking to the car and entered the back driver’s side seat. Evansville police say Officer Ward then saw Howard Phipps with “blood on his person” prior to him approaching the back driver’s side door, where Perteet was located, beating on the car. Police say Phipps was later transported to Deaconess Midtown for a gunshot wound in his leg. The Affidavit also says Officer Ward also identified Robert Owens as being the front passenger in the car, and Terry Eaulm later identified as the driver. EPD says Officer Ward gave verbal commands to stop with his service weapon drawn, but police say they refused and fled west on Illinois St.
A vehicle pursuit started when Evansville police tried to perform a traffic stop. Officers say they saw the car near Garvin St. and Franklin St., and says the car continued south on Heidelbach Avenue before stopping voluntarily at the intersection of SE 10th St near Cherry St. Officers later found a Glock 40 caliber handgun along the route the car took prior to stopping after the pursuit. 40 caliber shell casings, and blood were found by officers in the street near Sidetrack Tavern.
Police say five victims were taken to Deaconess Midtown with gunshot wounds from the shooting. One woman was shot once in the leg. She told police she didn’t see a shooter, but heard gunshots and was struck twice. One man reportedly arrived at the hospital with wounds to his back, buttocks, and leg. That man told police he had his back to the shooter and didn’t see anything. Another woman’s thigh was grazed from a bullet. That woman was able to take a picture of the license plate area of the suspect car before it left the scene. A third woman suffered a gunshot graze wound to her neck, wrist and leg, but told police she didn’t see the incident.
Terry Eaulm, Robert Owens, and John Perteet were taken to police headquarters and interviewed after police recovered video of the incident from Sidetrack Tavern’s security system. Police say the video shows a man identified as John Perteet outside a car firing numerous rounds toward a large crowd of people and cars. Police say the video shows Perteet then entering the driver’s side side before Officer Ward trying to stop them. The video also reportedly shows a man identified by EPD as Robert Owens eventually entering the front passenger’s seat before fleeing the scene in the car. Police say Owens account of the incident matches the video, but Owen’s denies seeing Perteet firing a gun. Police say Owens is in the back of the car when the firing begins. Terry Eaulm’s account of the incident also matches the video, but police say he too denies seeing Perttet fire a weapon. Eaulm and Perteet were taken to the Vanderburgh County Jail for various charges.
Perteet has a criminal background. He was reportedly found to have been dealing a controlled substance in Chicago, and had a separate charge of dealing.