Community expressing prayers, generosity for injured officer, family


Perry County resident Pete Unverferth has spent more than a dozen years as a police officer, spending time both with the Perryville and Ste. Genevieve police departments.
On April 16, he was responding to a noise complaint in Ste. Genevieve when he was struck by a molotov cocktail, according to police chief Eric Bennett.
Upon reaching the scene of the incident, Unverferth was struck by a fire bomb thrown by an individual.
The fire bomb was thrown by the suspect and struck the officer, causing the injuries, Bennett noted.
Unverferth was hospitalized from April 16 to 26. Upon his release Monday afternoon, an escort of police, fire and ambulance vehicles were part of an escort from a St. Louis hospital to Unverferth's home.
Vehicles from the Perryville Police Department, Perry County Sheriff’s Department, Perryville Fire Department, Perry County Ambulance Service and many other law enforcement, fire and rescue and ambulance operations were part of the caravan south.
Unverferth was a dispatcher with the Perryville Police Department from July 2005 to August 2006. He was a patrol officer in Perryville from January 2015 to April 2019. Upon leaving for the Ste. Genevieve Department in 2019, he was a corporal.
Unverferth, a Perry County resident, also volunteers with the Biehle Fire Department.
Unverferth underwent surgery as a result of his injuries.
“They are doing what they can to get him back on his feet,” said Jason Dauster, Biehle Fire Department Chief.
A series of events and fundraisers have been scheduled in support of Unverferth and his family.
“There has been a lot of community support,” said Biehle Fire Chief Jason Dauster. “Any time there is a public servant like that injured in the line of duty, they step up to help out. It’s unbelievable. Everybody has been great with their support. Pete and his family appreciate it.”
“It came together really well,” said Ste. Genevieve Police Chief Eric Bennett of Monday’s escort from the hospital to Perry County. “We got a lot of different support from area law enforcement, fire, ambulance and more. It was really, really heartwarming. It demonstrated how supporting a community we have. We appreciate everyone coming out and showing that support.”
An estimated 50 vehicles took part in the nearly two hour trip, according to Bennett.
For those along the route, it was “an opportunity for citizens to wave and encourage.”
The person responsible for the attack, Tyson Heise, has since been charged with first degree assault and armed criminal action following the April 16 incident.
Heise still remains on a no bond warrant after a bond reduction hearing. He is being held at the Ste. Gen. sheriff’s office.


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