Sister: Suspect In LSD Standoff Was ‘Walking Time Bomb’
Updated 03/17/14 – 1:13 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A sister of the murder suspect who engaged in a nearly 9-hour standoff with Chicago police on Lake Shore Drive on Sunday was apologizing to his late wife’s family, saying she and her siblings have long feared he would hurt someone.
LaStella Felton said she knew it was her brother behind the wheel when news broke Sunday afternoon that a car being chased by police had crashed on Lake Shore Drive.
“Without any doubt, I knew that that was my brother,” she said.
Police took her brother, Joseph Andrew Felton Jr., 43, into custody around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, about 8 ½ hours after he had crashed near Lake Shore Drive and Fullerton Avenue, as he fled police.
Police said Felton was wanted for a murder in Georgia; suspected of killing his wife, Sheray Latriest Felton during a domestic dispute on Saturday.
PHOTOS: Lake Shore Drive Standoff
LaStella Felton said she’s speaking out about her brother because she wants to make sure her late sister-in-law’s family knows how sorry they are about what happened.
“We would like to extend our condolences out to Sheray’s family. We know that this is a very difficult time for you, and we know that justice will be served,” she said.
LaStella said she and her sisters long have been scared of their brother. That’s why her older sister turned him away and called police when he turned up at her house on Sunday.
“I think she did save her life, because my brother is a walking time bomb; and, yes, he would have hurt her and her son,” she said.
Police said Felton was armed with several knives. In the early 2000s, he served time in prison in Illinois for attempted murder. His sister said he cut a woman “from head to toe” with a razor.
Authorities in Henry County, Ga., had called police in south suburban Harvey on Sunday, about a vehicle with Illinois plates, wanted in the connection with the murder. Harvey police located the car early Sunday afternoon, but the driver fled, and police chased the car onto I-57 and the Dan Ryan Expressway, before heading north on Lake Shore Drive.
Chicago Police Patrol Bureau Chief Wayne Gulliford said Felton rammed several vehicles during the chase, before crashing just north of Fullerton around 1 p.m.
Chicago officers and officers from another police agency fired shots at one point at Felton after the suspect became trapped along Lake Shore Drive. Felton was not injured by the gunfire, according to Chicago police.
Dozens of Chicago police vehicles, including two armored vehicles, surrounded the vehicle, and shut down Lake Shore Drive in both directions, keeping other vehicles far back from the scene. Traffic was blocked from Chicago Avenue to Bryn Mawr Avenue. Police also restricted access to the lakefront jogging and bike paths.
“This is a wanted homicide offender who was considered armed and dangerous by law enforcement,” Gulliford said. “He intentionally rammed several cars, including a police car; told negotiators that he was heavily armed; displayed erratic and unstable behavior during negotiations with SWAT personnel.”
Felton told police he had several firearms, and had vowed not to be taken alive. Police said his vehicle had tinted windows, so officers could not see if he actually had any guns, or if anyone else was in the vehicle, so police played it safe and stayed back for more than eight hours while trying to coax him out of the vehicle.
Police did not say if they found any guns in Felton’s car after the standoff ended, but Felton’s sister said, if he’d had guns, he would have used them.
“He would have been in a shootout,” she said.
Police repeatedly used loudspeakers to communicate with Felton during the standoff, at one point telling him to pick up a phone they had tossed to him.
“The ultimate goal is to resolve this safely … without anybody getting injured,” Gulliford said. “So during negotiations, the subject did threaten to harm himself and the police if they approached.”
The standoff ended around 9:30 p.m., and Felton was arrested and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to be treated for lacerations, which might have been self-inflicted.
The lengthy standoff created a traffic nightmare for motorists who tried to use Lake Shore Drive. Cars were backed up for miles as they slowly turned around via clogged ramps to get off the drive. Drivers were diverted to nearby side streets, which became gridlocked with cars and buses looking for an alternate route.
CBS security consultant Ross Rice says authorities handled the standoff properly in isolating the suspect, given that he could have begun firing and hit passing motorists.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications says options are limited on the drive because of the proximity to the lake.
The city is reviewing what happened and will make necessary adjustments in training.
Lake Shore Drive remained was not reopened to traffic until about 4:15 a.m. Monday.