Benton, IL police investigating after mayor attacked in parking lot of local store

BENTON, IL (KFVS) – Original Post

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:

Small-town America wins out

To the editor: The past week I attended every session of the BIT basketball tournament in Benton. As Benton’s mayor, I feel one of my jobs is to make our guests feel welcome. I watched a bunch of games and  spent a lot of my time watching the crowds. The championship game between Pinckneyville and Benton was special. Benton won, but  both teams are winners, along with the other four teams in the tourney.

The gym was packed to capacity Saturday night with the students, fans, players and coaches at their best. It was just wonderful to see people from small towns having a great time. After the game was over, the teams shook hands, the coaches did the pats on the back, and the students were ecstatic. Only being raised and living, or being from a small town, could you understand the atmosphere. That is the real America and Americans I know. There was NO rioting, bus attacks, people attacks or business-bashing after the game like we have witnessed over the last week in our great nation. The haters lost out Saturday night because the  real Americans showed their class.

I want to thank every single person who came to Benton the past week for enjoying themselves and conducting themselves as the Americans we know. I hope to see you all next year! Thanks again! You just can’t beat small-town America!

Mayor Fred Kondritz, Benton

From the February 8th’s edition of The Benton Evening News:

Where can Benton get a ‘help wanted’ sign?

To the editor: I read where Benton Mayor Kondritz went to a basketball game, and he made it sound as if Benton had never had a packed house.

Fred, for years the crowd has been from small towns, as small towns make up the BIT Tournament. For several years the games between Pinckneyville and their opponents have been special because Pinckneyville is hard to beat. I thought I would throw that in, Fred, in case you did not attend until elected mayor. When you talked about pats on backs and shaking hands and the students being ecstatic, it made me think that happens every year and it wasn’t a first-time thing.

You said there was no rioting. Where were you, mayor, when a Pinckneyville fan stole a sign from a Benton fan and the game had to be stopped and one adult male was removed from the floor? No, it was not a riot, but there was a potential for one, so why didn’t you tell it like it happened?

Fans, our mayor hopes to see you next year, and yes, you can’t beat small towns in America when they have good leaders, so where can I find a “help wanted” sign for Benton, Illinois?

Albert Smith, Benton

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