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Chicago Hts. cops: Fiddling with gun led to fatal shot

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Ryan Fantasia couldn’t figure out why his 9mm handgun wasn’t firing correctly, so he was fiddling with it Friday night in the bedroom of his Chicago Heights home, police said.

His girlfriend entered the room and told him to stop playing with the gun, but he pulled the slide back and the gun then fired, killing the 19-year-old woman, police said.

Haley Pelock, of the 3100 block of Courtney Lane in South Chicago Heights, died from a gunshot wound in the chest, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Fantasia, 20, of 43 W. 26th St., was charged with felony obstruction of justice for hiding the gun and originally telling police a different story, police said. Cook County Circuit Judge Darren Bowden set bail at $5,000 Sunday at the Markham courthouse, and Fantasia is next due in court April 4.

While trying to figure out why the weapon wasn’t working, Fantasia put a loaded magazine into the gun and began pulling the trigger, police said. It still wasn’t shooting until Pelock entered the room.

Chicago Heights police received a 911 call about the shooting about 7:30 p.m., police said, and when they arrived, Fantasia told them Pelock had been shot and was lying on the floor of his second-floor bedroom. Officers went to the room and saw Fantasia’s brother, John Fantasia, 30, attempting to give Pelock CPR, police said. Chicago Heights police Detective Art Robles said Ryan Fantasia, who hid the gun in the back of the house, initially claimed someone else had shot into the house.

Robles said Fantasia and Pelock had been seeing each other for about two years and there was no argument between them before the shooting, which they ruled accidental.

“You shouldn’t be playing with guns,” Robles said.

Marian Catholic High School teacher and Park Forest Trustee Gary Kopycinski said he taught junior theology to Pelock, who graduated in 2010.

“She had a delightful smile,” Kopycinski said. “It’s one of those things where you’re in shock and you run to get a copy of the yearbook and your eyes just start filling up. I just felt incredibly sad.”

Pelock is survived by her grandfather Joseph Apponi; parents Larry and Andrea; brothers Paul and Trevor; and two aunts, three uncles and three cousins.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Kerr-Parzygnot Funeral Home, 540 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Liborius Church, 3436 Halsted St., Steger.



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