Flossmoor chief: Officers ‘did everything right’ in Sunday standoff

It could have been a lot worse.
 
Sunday’s six-and-half-hour police standoff in Flossmoor ended with the peaceful arrest of a man who, at gunpoint, allegedly threatened to kill two officers.
 
The suspect was taken into custody after members of the regional SWAT team entered his house, located in the 2500 block of Caddy Street, and discovered him in a room, Acting Police Chief Tod Kamleiter said.
 
As it turns out, the rifle that the man pointed at police was not a genuine firearm, Kamleiter said. It was a realistic-looking BB gun. But officers had no way of knowing that the gun they saw was not a deadly weapon.
 
The two Flossmoor officers who first responded to the house, and were confronted by the man, “showed amazing restraint,” Kamleiter said.
 
During the entire incident, police believed that the man’s weapon was a real gun, he said.
 
“Our officers saw what they saw,” he said. “There was no way you could tell it was not a real gun.”
 
Following his arrest, Jacob Larsen, 41, of the Caddy Street residence, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault to a police officer, Kamleiter said. He is currently in custody at Cook County Jail.
 
The incident began at about 8:30 a.m. when neighbors heard screaming inside the house and called police. As the two responding officers approached the house, a man came outside and said he’d kill them if they didn’t leave, Kamleiter said.
 
“He said he had a rifle,” Kamleiter said.
 
The man then went back inside the house and came back out with his apparent weapon, and pointed it at the officers, Kamleiter said. The man came outside three or four times during the early moments of the standoff to yell at the police, he said. Then he went back inside and police did not see him again until his arrest.
 
Kamleiter and another Flossmoor officer arrived shortly afterward and police settled in for the remainder of the standoff. Streets were closed off in the area around the house.
 
Homewood police were called to provide assistance, and the SWAT team – consisting of officers from MABAS 24, the mutual aid organization of law enforcement and public safety agencies in the South Suburbs — arrived on the scene.
 
During the early portion of the standoff, the suspect’s parents left the residence voluntarily, and he was in the house by himself.
 
Kamleiter gave high marks to the two officers who initially responded to the call.
 
“They did everything right,” he said. “They secured a perimeter, they called for backup and they took control of the situation right away.”
 
Both officers, he said, are relatively new to the department — they have been Flossmoor officers for less than two years — but are highly trained and “were able to identify the situation for what it was,” Kamleiter said.
 
About 98 percent of Flossmoor’s police, including these two officers, are SWAT-trained. “That is a huge deal,” Kamleiter said.
 
Sunday’s incident was the first time the Flossmoor police have ever used a SWAT team on a “call of this magnitude,” he said. A total of about 40 officers — from Flossmoor, Homewood and the SWAT team — were on the scene during the incident.
 
Negotiators from the SWAT team attempted to contact the suspect through family members and a loudspeaker, but he did not respond. Police were not able to contact him by phone during the incident.
 
At 3:15 p.m., several SWAT team members entered the house and were able to arrest the man without any resistance. Kamleiter said there is no apparent explanation for why the incident took place.
 
Sunday was a hot day, with temperatures climbing close to 90 degrees. During the incident, police were actively assisted by neighboring residents, Kamleiter said.
 
“We had fantastic support from our residents,” he said. “They brought water and opened their homes to officers so that they could cool off or use the rest room.”
 
As the standoff proceeded, the police department sent a reverse-911 phone message to residents living near the incident. The phone message, asking residents to stay inside and to keep away from windows, was sent to 230 homes in an area bounded by Western Avenue on the east, the Metra tracks on the west, Flossmoor Road on the north and about four blocks south of there.
 
Kamleiter said the department is embarking on an education program so that residents can sign up for Code Red, an emergency notification service that is activated whenever the police department is responding to similar incidents in the community.
 
Residents will be able to sign up for the service at the annual Night Out Against Crime event in Flossmoor on Aug. 6.
 
Residents can also register for Code Red at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/6431ACC0D007 
 

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