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POLICE: Gunman Surrenders Peacefully After Standoff

A man suspected of robbing a Palos Heights Radio Shack store was taken into custody on Wednesday after he held officers at bay in Oak Lawn, police said.

An armed man who is suspected of holding up Palos Heights electronics store gave himself up peacefully to police after an hour-long standoff in Oak Lawn, cops said.

The drama unfolded in Oak Lawn at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday when dozens of cops and other law enforcement agencies swarmed a quiet neighborhood near 96th Street and LaCross Avenue, looking for a male black in his forties wearing a gray hoodie.

Division Chief Michael Kaufmann, of the Oak Lawn Police Department, said in recent weeks that a string of Radio Shack stores were robbed in the south suburbs.

Police had given information to the Oak Lawn Radio Shack last week, when a man matching the robbery suspect’s description walked into the store at 4819 W. 95th St. on Wednesday afternoon.

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“The girl was very sharp. Right away she knew something wasn’t right,” Kaufmann said of the employee. “She told someone to call 911, saying, ‘I think we’re going to get robbed.’”

When the man saw police arriving, he took off running on foot. An Oak Lawn tactical officer chased the man to a home on the 4800 block of West 96th Street, where the alleged robbery suspect forced his way into a rear stairwell.

“He went and hid in a back stairwell in a house and was holding a gun. At that point it turned into a standoff,” Kaufmann said.

Kaufmann wouldn’t confirm reports if the man was holding the barrel of the gun in his mouth, only to say the man had a weapon and was threatening police officers. Other law enforcement agencies were called in, including the South Suburban Emergency Response Team and a police hostage barricade team.

“After an hour negotiating with one of our detectives, he threw his out his gun and came out and surrendered,” Kaufmann said. “Nobody was harmed and nobody was hurt.”

An emergency notification alert was sent out by the village to residents and businesses in the area, telling people to remain inside. Police also notified the principals of Sward Elementary School and which were placed on lockdown.

Youngsters at Sward told Patch that they were told to “shelter in place.” Students were being released to their parents only, a mom said.

Police believe the man taken into custody is responsible for robbing the Radio Shack at 1901 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights at approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Palos Heights police said that a man walked into the store where two employees were working and produced a handgun. One of the employees ran out the back door and the other stayed behind.

The gunman allegedly ordered the employee who stayed behind to give him money. After taking an unknown amount of cash, Palos Heights police said he ran out the back door and got into a vehicle where he is believed to have driven to Oak Lawn.

Palos Heights police believe the man arrested in Oak Lawn is the same suspect in the Palos Heights Radio Shack robbery. Police are investigating as well as others in the south suburbs.

The name of the man in custody has not yet been released because of pending charges. Kaufmann said because the robbery occurred in Palos Heights, it may fall under Palos Heights police jurisdiction.

Palos Patch editor Nick Swedberg contributed to this report.

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Kenneth Henderson November 08, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Great Job, OLPD! Any time you can get the bad guy and nobody gets hurt it's a great day!
Jose Madrigal November 08, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Just the OLPD? How about some kudos for the girl who recognized the suspect, stayed calm and had someone call 911.
Sandra Bury November 08, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Great story! It took everyone working together to make it happen. The employee in Radio Shack, the quick communications to the community, the tactical officer who sucessfully chased the suspect on foot, and the entire OLPD team who were able to take him into custody with no injuries and no innocent people hurt... great job!!
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Great job OLPD. Sward & OLHMS not so much! Letting kids walk home alone before getting the all clear is not doing a great job in my book!!! School & village alert system failed to contact MANY parents about this unti after the fact!
O.L. Taxpayer November 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Agreed on some of your post. Sward did an excellent job. School was placed on "shelter in place" not lock down. With that being said, students were not released to walk or ride home. Parents had to remove students and some students who lived close were walked home by faculty. Great job Sward. OLHMS not so good. Let kids walk home right into the danger area. But the kids who ride the busses, who may live away from the danger area had to stay? Somewhere the communication failed.
Harry Gamala November 08, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Kudos to that lady for reporting a suspicious individual. People, dont be afraid to do it and dont be afraid of the p.c. clowns that condemn profiling. That worker could have had a gun on her forehead and she could have been murdered if she didnt trust her gut. Take Oak Lawn back, dont give it to the criminal slime.
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM
UNTRUE O.L. Taxpayer!! My son goes to Sward, walked home at 3:45, before all clear was given with no supervision from Sward!!!!! My daughter at OLHMS walked home also & had no clue what was going on! Busses at PLHMS were delayed but children were allowed to walk???? That is crazy!!!! I am so upset with both schools!!! Also while my son walked home from Sward no adult patrol was out so now the school put them at risk for getting hit by a car?!?!?!?! Yes I must be overreacting and not know what I am talking about!!! Not!!!!!!
O.L. Taxpayer November 08, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I was at Sward at 3:45 still trying to get my child out of the school. Teachers were letting students out only if an adult was there to get them and administration was outside walking around. You must be mistaken on your timeline. Usual crossing guards were out at corners just not the student crossing guards. I do not feel that you are overreacting just trying to let you see what really was going on. I was at the school, first hand knowledge. Saw teachers walking kids down 99th street. Again, the real question is why were the schools not put on "lock-down" It was three blocks from sward. School district has a lot of explaining to do on what went wrong at Middle school. It was a joke when parents went there to get their kids. Line out the door and busses that were not going to be used blocking the parking lot.
Oak Lawn November 08, 2012 at 03:45 PM
This is information from someone at OLHMS. Please note in the article above that the drama unfolded around 3pm. Thank to the D123 parents who were impacted by yesterday's Shelter in Place @ OLHMS. It was a precarious situation given the time of day. We were notified shortly after our 1,050 students were dismissed and did out best to handle the situation. We acted diligently to get the kids settled and notify our families. Obviously, the kids were our #1 priority which is why notification took some time to go out. Rest assured, we weren't sitting around twiddling our thumbs. We can always learn from these types of situations, and we will reflect on our practices trying to improve for next time. The bottom line is you cannot always prepare for such things.
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 03:51 PM
O.L. Taxpayer if you would like to see my phone records I will be glad to show you. My son was walking home from Sward at 3:45pm well before the all clear was given! I was at work when this all started, never got any alert and did not have to go pick my son up because he was already home!! As far as crossing guards no child was out but nor were the adults & that is from both my children who go to OLHMS & Sward.! Being at the school means nothing as far as first hand accounts because you could not of possibly seen eveything going on. I am not the only parent who has an issue with how things were handled at either school.
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 03:58 PM
It unfolded around 3pm & school lets out at 3:20pm still time to keep OLHMS students in. The schools dropped the ball plan and simple.
Guera Hernandez November 08, 2012 at 04:01 PM
So true I called the Non Emergency number and the officer or whoever answers the phone told me I was not notified because I did not live close to the area of were it was taking place.What about when Bank of America got robbed at 111th and Pulaski I was notified about that and I am no were close to there.Then I get a phone call from OLHMS at 410pm Telling me no students can leave the school on the school buses if you kike you can pick up your child.Well my daughter was left out at regular time and may I remind you she is a Walker.OLPD failed to contact the Middle school when all this was happening. I am very upset with them in that way I am gload they did do a Good job catching him.But again Failed to contact us....and the middle school...
oaklawnmom75 November 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Some of these comments are ridiculous. There is NO WAY the staff of either school would EVER release students if they were aware of trouble in the neighborhood. Use some common sense people. You won't find better or more diligent staffs than those at OLHMS or Sward anywhere around. If the administration had been made aware of the situation, students wouldn't have been released; the notification came AFTER the students who are walkers were released.
OLHMS Mom November 08, 2012 at 04:53 PM
amy melvin, I too am a parent of an OLHMS student and I received a text message and an email at 3:25 from the Village of Oak Lawn regarding this situation. I was also at work, but at least I was notified by the Village of what was happening. I would suggest going to Oak Lawn's website and signing up for their alerts. You will see it on the right-hand side of the page, titled Citizen Alert Notification Sign Up. Just click there and sign up for alerts from the Village.
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM
oaklawnmom75 it happened!!!!!!!!! I have never had a problem with either school and back them 100% except for this. They dropped the ball end of it!! They let children walk home in the middle of it all!!! Sure the OLPD knew where the guy was but it was not secure!!!!! NO child should of been let go!!!
amy melvin November 08, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Thank you OLHMS Mom I am already signed up for that as well as the school on. I get calls about the weather from the village but never anything of serios nature. The school ones i get that its a "take home Friday", report cards coming home etc, but NEVER received one yesterday except after the fact to say busses would be delayed from OLHMS and Village saying it was all clear, which both happened AFTER 4pm when my children who had WALKED home were already home & safe. There are MANY MANY parents who also did not receive any sort of alert. One mom at OLHMS at 3pm was told by office staff it was none of her business. 3pm!!!!!!! kids are not dismissed till 3:20!!!! SCHOOLS DROPPED THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Angry Parent November 08, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I have two kids. One goes to Sward where there was a shelter in place (never got notified) and my other goes to OLHMS. My middleschooler was let out and walked all the way home. I emailed the Superintendent of the Dist. I think it's ridiculous if home owners were alerted about the incident at 3:15pm or whatever time it was, that I didn't get an email or phone call until 4:05pm. I am signed up to get all the alerts from Honeywell to the OLPD. Never received a call until 4:05pm. Ridiculous. Thank goodness my child made it home without being harmed.
Michelle Kreydich November 08, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I too get calls about the weather, but not about the serious events that happen in Oak Lawn. I finally got an "all clear" yesterday, but was uncertain what the "all clear" was for. I am also registered w/the village for important things like this. My Sward student was worried because she was not told what was happening & I did not know anything to reassure her w/facts. Glad to hear all students were safe, but what about the schools notifying parents if there is a lock-down situation (or whatever you want to call it).

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