BENTON, IL (KFVS) - Police in Benton, Illinois are investigating after the town mayor was attacked in the parking lot of a local store.
On February 8 at around 3:30 p.m., the Benton Police Department received a report of a battery that had taken place at Fred's Discount Store located at 215 Bailey Lane.
It was reported to officers that Mayor Fred Kondritz was approached by Albert L. Smith of Benton while the two were in the parking lot of the store.
The Mayor of Benton says he was shopping with his wife, and never saw it coming.
"To escalate to the level it happened is just astonishing to me – I just couldn't believe it," said Mayor Fred Kondritz
The Mayor says he was shopping at Fred's Super Dollar on Wednesday.
When he saw Albert Smith - an acquaintance - he asked if he was going to the game that night.
"He's about five or six steps away from me, and just turned around and charged at me, and threw a punch and hit me in the face," said Kondritz
On January 25th Mayor Kondritz wrote an editorial in The Benton Evening News.
It talked about spirit at a basketball game.
Smith wrote a letter in response entitled - Where can Benton get a 'help wanted' sign?
"I'm a believer of the 1st Amendment so he can speak his peace. I don't know that if that topic infuriated him or not – I don't know that. There was no intent in infuriating him," said Kondritz.
Related or not - Benton Police Chief Kyle Melvin says - Smith hit the Mayor.
He was arrested for Aggravated Battery of a Public Official.
"All I did was shielded my face, and he threw a blow at me, and hit me in the forehead, almost broke my glasses, hit me in the bridge of the nose," said Kondritz.
Mayor Kondritz says he did not fight back.
"I'm unscathed. I'm fine. I'm going to do a good job, and I'm still doing my job, but that one little incident. I think that it's a wake up call," said The Mayor.
Kondritz believes while the investigation is ongoing that Smith should be prosecuted.
"We have a tool of law that you can prosecute somebody for what they've done, and that's what should be done by the state's attorney," said Mayor Fred Kondritz.
More than anything - Mayor Kondritz is thankful for support from the Benton community.
"Overwhelming response from the citizens. It's all been positive that they – they're just ashamed of what happened, and they're sad for what happened. It should never happen," The Mayor said.
An investigation into the matter is ongoing.
KFVS attempted to reach out to Mr. Smith for his response - but was unsuccessful.
There are no charges filed against Smith at this time.
Both articles are courtesy of Benton Evening News' Editor Geoff Ritter.
From January 25th's edition of The Benton Evening News:
From the February 8th's edition of The Benton Evening News: