Harvey Hostages Rescued, Suspects In Custody
Updated 08/20/14 – 11:47 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Four remaining hostages who had been held captive for nearly 21 hours have been rescued, and two suspects who engaged in a standoff with police in south suburban Harvey have been taken into custody Wednesday morning.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said officers entered the home at 147th and Robey shortly before 9:30 a.m. and rescued two women and two children from a second floor bedroom. The two suspects who had been holding them hostage did not surrender willingly, but were taken into custody without any shots being fired.
The sheriff said, after the remaining hostages were brought out of the house, “the entire neighborhood was just cheering wildly.”
“There was just a collective sigh of relief from everybody when we got those last ones out of there,” he added. “Obviously, this was very volatile for a long time.”
Dart said the hostages were not hurt, but were obviously traumatized by their ordeal.
“I walked with the little girls from our vehicle to the ambulance, and they were crying – as you’d imagine, hysterically – and the women were as well,” Dart said. “You could just see there was just incredible relief, but a lot of trauma; not necessarily from any physical injuries, but just from what everybody had gone through for so long.”
Two women — ages 37 and 43 — and two girls — ages 6 and 12 — were taken to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey for observation.
Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg said he was “very elated” the situation was resolved peacefully.
Dart said police were unaware of any previous relationship between the suspects and the hostages.
The sheriff said he was relieved such a difficult situation had been resolved without further violence, after two police officers were shot by the suspects at the start of the standoff.
As the officers arrived at the scene they spotted a suspect who aimed a gun at them and opened fire. One officer was shot multiple times in the arm, and the other suffered a graze wound. The two suspects then barricaded themselves inside the home, and took eight people hostage — two adults and six children.
The officer who was more seriously hurt – Darnell Keel, a 15-year veteran officer – suffered a broken arm and was treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Police initially send he was sent home Tuesday night, but later said he was still at Christ on Wednesday, undergoing surgery for his wounds. The other officer was treated at the scene.
Four children were released from the home at various points on Tuesday, though police have not said how they were rescued, citing the ongoing negotiations to release all the hostages.
Dart said Cook County Sheriff’s negotiators and Illinois State Police were in contact with the suspects throughout the standoff.
“We’d been giving them opportunities the last almost 24 hours to come out. We’ve assured them no one was going to hurt them, and tried everything conceivable to get them to understand that we weren’t going away, and that this was going to be resolved,” he said.
Dart said police had to walk a fine line to protect the hostages as negotiations dragged out.
“We knew we had to be very careful, because of the children being present; and yet at the same time we had to be aware that we couldn’t let this go on very long, because these are people who are very dangerous and very unpredictable,” Dart said.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, police decided to enter the home to rescue the hostages, as negotiations with the suspects had reached a standstill, according to Dart.
“We were having more circular conversations with people. There was no end in sight, and the concerns were mounting about where this was going to end up, because of the length of time going on here,” Dart said. “We needed to do something different.”
The suspects had repeatedly threatened the hostages during the negotiations, according to Dart, but none of the hostages was injured during the standoff.
“They were crying … as you imagine, hysterically,” Dart said.
At least 19 different law enforcement agencies — including Harvey Police, Cook County Sheriff’s Police, and Illinois State Police — took part in the standoff. More than 200 officers were involved.
With the standoff still going on early Wednesday, officials decided to cancel the first day of class at Rosa Parks Middle School, which is across the street from the home.
Nearby Thornton Township High School was open Wednesday, but students who live in the area near the standoff were not required to attend, and other students were advised to avoid the scene of the standoff, and use 150th Street instead of 147th/Sibley to get to school.