South Side chainsaw attack suspect in custody

August 22, 2013 (CHICAGO)

According to relatives, Preston Smith, 55, sustained injuries to his hands and face while fending off the chainsaw-wielding attacker at his car, a neighbor and friend he's known for 30 years. The victim currently underwent surgery for severe cuts to his hands. Family members say he has lost feeling in a thumb and forefinger.

The incident occurred around 1 a.m. Wednesday in the 1000-block of West 103rd Street. The attack left gashes on the victim's car and also left his family in disbelief.

"That's what I see, attempted murder, yeah, pretty much," said Ron Smith, the victim's brother.

"He was trying to cut him [the victim] in the face, and he threw his hand up," said Mildred Smith, victim's mother.

Smith was having drinks in his back yard with his neighbor when the two got into an argument, according to relatives. The topic of the argument remains unclear.

"They're best buddies one minute, but when they're drinking, this is what comes out," said the victim's mother.

Family members said Smith had gone to his car when his friend came after him with a chainsaw, the same chainsaw he has used to do landscaping work in the neighborhood.

"That's what happens when you mix alcohol with power tools," said the victim's brother. "He's lucky, he's lucky that he didn't get his head."

"It's very shocking and surprising. I never thought something like this could happen right on the block right where you stand, where you live," said Lavonnia Foster, a neighbor.

Relatives say the neighbor's brother stopped the attack. And by the time police arrived, the suspect had fled the scene. Smith was taken to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. His fingers were not severed.

"Go after somebody with a chainsaw, it's obvious that he was trying to do some damage," said the victim's brother.

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