Evicted Man Takes Hostage In Home
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JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) – A man being evicted from his Joilet home reportedly held a woman hostage during a standoff with police Thursday, the Herald-News is reporting.
The incident began shortly after 9 a.m. when two Will County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at 1600 Oneida St. in Joliet to serve an eviction to Thomas Ray, 41.
According to reports, the deputies went around to the back door and began using a key the landlord had given them when Ray confronted them.
“He slammed the door shut, bolted it and said he was armed and had hostages,” Police Chief Fred Hayes said.
Deputies notified Joliet police, who blocked off traffic on Woodlawn Avenue and put St. Paul The Apostle School — directly across the street — on lockdown.
“We communicated with the suspect off and on throughout the morning and spoke with a woman who was being held inside against her will,” Hayes said.
Police said there was a possibility Lee was holding a second person, but it was later confirmed the woman, identified as his girlfriend, was the only hostage.
While the school was locked down and students removed from classrooms facing the house, police later allowed parents to pick up children on the east side of the building in a parking lot filled with squad cars.
The SWAT team was called to the scene, while a command post was set up inside the school.
Shortly before 1 p.m. the SWAT team pulled an armored truck into the driveway and an officer addressed Lee using a loudspeaker.
“This is the Joliet Police Department SWAT team and we need you to come out of the house … Thomas, come out the front door,” he repeated several times over the next few minutes.
After about 20 minutes, police fired a .37 mm “baton round” through the front window. The non-lethal, but still incapacitating, object reportedly frightened Lee into complying with police.
About five minutes later, Lee and the woman came out the front door with their hands up and were told to stand apart and take turns walking backward on the sidewalk to where officers were waiting. Both laid down and were taken into custody without incident.
The SWAT team then went inside to confirm no one else was in the house.
“He said he’d hidden his gun in the kitchen and was going to blow up the house,” Hayes said. “The officers inside found nothing to substantiate his bomb threat so we will look for weapons after we have obtained a search warrant.”
After the warrant was issued, police found three handguns and a Taser in the residence.
Police said both Lee and the woman appeared to be in “good condition” as they were taken down to the station.
Court records show forcible eviction proceedings were begun against Lee in August and a trial date was scheduled for Dec. 9. Lee was also reportedly wanted on an outstanding warrant from a domestic battery charge.
The standoff turned out to be bad luck for an alleged shoplifter.
At 11:25 a.m. employees at K-Mart at 1801 W. Jefferson St. reported a man had run out with two pellet guns, a camcorder, batting gloves and computer memory cards and started running north on Larkin Avenue.
“Approximately a block from where about 50 officers were,” Hayes said.
Kelin Coleman, 17, was spotted almost immediately at Campbell Street but ran down Larkin into the 1700 block of Mayfield.
“After a short foot pursuit he was stopped while trying to jump over a fence and arrested on a charge of felony retail theft,” Hayes said.
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