“They started trash talking and the next thing I know they are off their bikes and they’re taunting me and threatening to kick me,” said long time Rockford resident Terry Siebert.
Siebert was attacked in his own driveway Sunday afternoon as he was about to take out his garbage. “I got a couple of punches that I got on my face,” he added.
Siebert was approached by three teenagers just outside his home on Carol Court, where he says they began to threaten him, then started physically punching him. A neighbor drove up shortly after and broke up the fight.
“If it wasn’t for my neighbor Austin they probably would have done more damage. When Austin pulled up it sort of broke up the situation,” he said.
Siebert is familiar to many because for the past two years he became the face of the fight against the South New Towne housing project going in just down the street. He often set up a table in his front yard gathering signatures in protest.
“I’m very disturbed,” said Rockford Alderman Joseph Chiarelli. “I just cannot believe the disregard for human life that’s occurring in this community, it made me sick,” he added.
Chiarelli believes the attack was random by teenagers just looking for trouble. “We will catch them and the warning goes out to them, if you are going to play ball like that we’re going to play ball also,” Chiarelli said.
Siebert doesn’t blame South New Towne for the attack. However, he believes other housing authority properties in the area have compromised the safety of his neighborhood and the new housing project may only make things worse.
“We have seen this juvenile crime in our neighborhood and crime in general in the last eight to ten years, it’s increased more and more and more,” Siebert said. “We blame it all, very frankly, on the Rockford Housing Authority and their Section 8 program,” he said. “This area is full of Section 8 apartments all around here, homes, and we see more and more and more trouble around here all the time,” he added.
Eyewitness News reached out to Rockford Housing Authority officials, but they did not respond to our requests for comment. No arrests have been made and residents say those teens have not been seen in the neighborhood since the attack.