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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Man Wielded Machete, Hammer To Randomly Stab And Beat 2 Men In Logan Square, Prosecutors Say

Banner Sperlazzo, of suburban Elgin, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon in the Sept. 5 and Nov. 21 attacks.

Chicago Police squad car.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — A suburban man charged in two “unprovoked” attacks in Logan Square since September used a machete and a hammer to badly injure the two victims, prosecutors say, with one attack occurring a few blocks from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home.

Banner Sperlazzo, 28, of suburban Elgin, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon in the Sept. 5 and Nov. 21 attacks, police and prosecutors said. He was ordered held without bail following a Tuesday hearing.

In the September attack, a 26-year-old man was walking home from a friend’s house around 1 a.m. in the 2600 block of North Drake Avenue when he noticed an idling car and heard footsteps, prosecutors said. The victim ran away, but an attacker slashed him in the abdomen with a 9- to 12-inch-long curved knife, prosecutors said.

The attacker yelled, “In the name of Jesus Christ!” before slashing the victim “several more times,” prosecutors said. Eventually, the victim managed to get away. Two neighbors took him into their apartment and treated his stab wounds before he was eventually taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital, prosecutors said.

The victim spent two weeks in the hospital and had two surgeries for ruptured intestines and a laceration to the spleen, prosecutors said. He also had a wound on his face running from his left cheek to his nose, prosecutors said.

Detectives identified Sperlazzo and his car — an 1995 Toyota sedan — using police cameras and witness testimony, prosecutors said. Officers with the suburban Mount Prospect Police Department towed Sperlazzo’s car in a traffic stop September 27. As part of the investigation, officers searched Sperlazzo’s car and found a bloody pair of pants, prosecutors said. DNA samples matched the Drake Avenue victim, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not say why Sperlazzo was not arrested at the time.

Nearly three months after the first attack, there was another in Logan Square also involving a 1995 Toyota sedan and a man who matched Sperlazzo’s description, police and prosecutors said.

The second attack happened around 2:40 a.m. Nov. 21 in the 2200 block of North St. Louis Avenue. While out walking his dog, the victim nodded at someone passing him on the sidewalk, prosecutors said. Seconds later, the victim felt something hit him in the head and turned to realize the person who passed him had struck him with a hammer, prosecutors said.

The assailant took out a machete that was strapped to his chest and tried to stab the victim, but the victim managed to escape in a chase, prosecutors said. The attacker’s car from this attack matched the car identified from the Drake Avenue attack, prosecutors said.

The victim went home after the attack and his roommates called police, prosecutors said. He was taken to the hospital and treated for a concussion and head wounds, prosecutors said.

Both victims identified Sperlazzo as their attackers in lineups, prosecutors said. Police arrested Sperlazzo Sunday in the 3000 block of North Halsted Street in Lakeview.

Sperlazzo admitted to being on the scene of both incidents, but denied attacking the men, according to prosecutors. He is currently “on supervision” for a domestic battery charge out of Kane County, prosecutors said.

In arguing for bail, Sperlazzo’s defense attorney said Sperlazzo has been working at Grubhub for two years but is currently homeless.

A Cook County judge said the witness identifications, the car, the bloody pants and the “random acts of violence in the middle of the night” made it clear Sperlazzo should be held without bail.

“The randomness of these attacks combined with the method and operation of these attacks … tells me that he is a danger to the community,” the judge said.

In a community alert last month, police said they were searching for one suspect who they believed was responsible for three similar machete attacks, two in Logan Square and one in Belmont Cragin on Nov. 24.

In the Belmont Cragin incident, which also happened late at night, the attacker used a machete to stab a man who was out walking his dog, police said. No one has been charged in the third attack.

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