Entries in SWAT (6)


Cops Raid Illinois Home Where Teen Was Held Captive for Three Years

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON PARK, Ill.) -- In a dramatic nighttime raid, police stormed the Illinois home of a man accused of holding a teenager captive for three years, raping her, and impregnating her, law enforcement officials said.

Washington Park police, assisted by SWAT teams from neighboring counties stormed the home Thursday evening, arresting a 25-year-old man and his mother, officials from two counties confirmed.

Cops also removed from the home two children and placed them in the custody of the state Department of Children and Family Services, said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

One of the children is reportedly the 2-year-old son of the victim and the suspect. The age of the other child has not been released.

The man and his mother are in police custody but have not yet been charged pending a review by prosecutors, Kelly said.

"There was an enormous amount of evidence discovered at the scene. All of the evidence and material is being examined and will be presented to the state attorney in the next 24 hours for us to review," Kelly said.

Neither the names of the suspects, nor the victim have been released.The woman, now 19, was reported missing three years ago. Authorities confirmed that police were pursuing a sexual assault case against the suspect.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bank Robbery Fails When Suspect Gets Stuck in Air Duct

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- He wore a dreadlocks wig, covered his face, and plotted his escape. But the one thing a bank robber in suburban Chicago didn’t account for, according to police, was getting stuck in an air duct.

Charles Estell, 38, was charged with one count of bank robbery in federal court Sunday.

Investigators said Estell held them on an 11-hour stand-off at the Bank of America branch at a strip mall in Oak Lawn, with a restaurant and other stores nearby.

According to a criminal complaint released by the FBI Chicago office, Estell staked out the bank and somehow learned there was an opening in the building’s roof that led to the bank vault.

Two female bank employees were in the vault at around 2:15 p.m. Saturday, getting ready to close for the day, when a man suddenly walked into the vault.

The robber was wearing a ski cap, had a bandana covering his face, and a dreadlocks wig.  He was holding a gun in his hand, and according to the complaint, told the employees, “This is a robbery, get down on the floor, keep your heads down. I don’t want to kill or hurt you, I just want the money.”

The robber then tied the employees’ hands with black zip-ties, and duct-taped their mouths and feet, telling the employees, “I have someone outside, I don’t want to shoot you, give me 10 minutes.”

After he shoved about $100,000 into a backpack and a duffle bag, the FBI says surveillance video captured the robber pacing back and forth inside the bank branch.

More than 60 SWAT members and other officers arrived on the scene and spent nearly 11 hours searching for and trying to communicate with the bank robber, whom they suspected still had to be somewhere inside the strip mall.

Just before 1 a.m. Sunday, a broken window and a trail of blood led authorities to an air duct in a neighboring office building. Police found Estell stuck inside the duct, unable to free himself.

Investigators are still trying to figure out how he learned about the vault’s location.

According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, Estell was out on parole after serving time on vehicular hijacking charges.

Oak Lawn Police said the two female bank employees were shaken up, but not injured.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deadly Game: Hackers Pranking Authorities, Provoking SWAT Team Response

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Swatting is the practice of making prank calls that sound so violent that they provoke a SWAT team response.

Hunter Gelinas, 15, of Naples, Florida, learned all about it firsthand when a SWAT -- or special weapons and tactics -- team stormed his house.  Swatters had hacked his Xbox account and used the console's Internet connection to send a message to authorities.

"They were saying that Hunter had been stabbed and the parents and other people being held hostage at the house," his mother, Dale Ann Gelinas, said.

Hunter recalls: "I come out of my room and they've got their guns pointed at me and stuff...I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to die.'"

Swatters are usually young computer hackers working alone or in groups, according to the team of FBI officials who profile them.  They choose their victims carefully -- though, at times, it is completely random.

Swatting has spread throughout the United States and Canada in recent months.

"Once you catch a swatter or a group that is committing these crimes, they are usually responsible for multiple swatting incidents," said Kevin Kolbye, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Dallas office, which headed the first federal swatting case in 2007.

Kolbye has been piecing together what appeared to be isolated swatting cases around the country since 2004.

Swatters aren't motivated by money, he said.

"Some of the motivation for swatting has been revenge against their victims or ego or bragging rights," Kolbye said.  "There has been very little monetary gains in swatting."

The FBI is cracking down on the practice.  One of their biggest arrests was Matthew Weigman, a blind 19-year-old hacker from Massachusetts, who is now serving 11 years in federal prison for swatting.

The FBI's biggest concern is that, one day, the criminal crank calls will turn deadly.

"They [SWAT officers] are responding to a hostage or a possible homicide situation," Kolbye said.  "They are very aware that they are going into a very dangerous situation.  They are in a heightened state, the safety's off and their finger is close to the trigger."

In addition to the possible danger to the victims, there is the financial cost.  The FBI says each swatting incident costs law enforcement an average of $10,000 in resources.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona SWAT Team Cleared in Former Marine's Killing

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The SWAT team that gunned down a former Marine in his Tucson, Ariz., home was cleared Tuesday of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Jose Guerena, 26, was killed in a hail of bullets from the SWAT team, which broke down the door to his home on May 5 while trying to serve a search warrant as part of a home invasion probe.

Guerena did not fire a single shot in the incident, but Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman said in the report issued Tuesday that the five SWAT team members were justified in using deadly force because the former Marine pointed his weapon at them.

"A close examination of the rifle revealed it appeared to have been damaged by being fired upon from such an angle that it must have been pointed toward officers," Berkman wrote. "The officers were mistaken in believing Mr. Guerena fired at them. However, when Mr. Guerena raised the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in their direction, they needed to take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them."

Mike Storie, an attorney representing the SWAT officers, told ABC News affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson that he never expected that the investigation would result in criminal charges.

"This is no surprise to me," Storie told KGUN. "I fully expected this. It's the correct result."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Drug SWAT Team That Gunned Down Ex-Marine Found No Drugs

Comstock/Thinkstock(TUSCON, Ariz.) -- The SWAT team that gunned down an ex-Marine in his own home was targeting him as part of a drug and home-invasion probe, but no drugs were found in the home, documents released by the Pima County sheriff's office show.

SWAT team members acknowledge in interviews that Jose Guerena never fired his weapon before the officers broke down his door and killed him with a barrage of 71 bullets, shown in a dramatic helmet-cam video released Thursday.

Guerena, 26, a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, was asleep after working a night shift at the Asarco copper mine when his wife, Vanessa, saw the team outside her youngest son's bedroom window and yelled to her husband. He grabbed his AR-15 rifle.

Vanessa Guerena didn't know the men were SWAT officers and thought they might be home invaders, especially because two members of her sister-in-law's family were killed last year in their Tucson home, her lawyer, Chris Scileppi, said.

The video and audiotapes released also shows the police officers did briefly use a siren and announced who they were, shouting "police, search warrant, open the door" in English and Spanish as they arrived at Guerena's Tucson home on May 5.

A SWAT officer, Sgt. Bob Krygier, told officials of the sheriff's office who are investigating the incident that the raid on Guerena's home was probing "possible drug running, home invasions and potential homicides."

He said "many guns" were found in the house, including the AR15 that Guerena was holding, another rifle, and a handgun. Body armor was also found and a U.S. Border Patrol hat, he said. "He was well-armed, well armored," Krygier said, but when asked if Guerena was wearing body armor at the time of his death, he said, "no…he basically had a pair of boxer briefs on and that was it."

"They're just putting out lies," Reyna Ortiz, a relative who is helping to care for his wife Vanessa and her two young sons, said of the report.

Mike Storie, an attorney representing the SWAT officers, said the video clearly refutes allegations that the officers did not announce who they were as they arrived at the home. He said the officers didn't necessarily expect to find drugs.

But protests in the community continue. Guerena's widow will join members of the Oathkeepers, a group of veterans and law-enforcement officials, for a Memorial Day rally Monday at the Guerena home . The Oathkeepers say on their website that they are determined "to take a stand against the egregious policy of using SWAT teams to serve search warrants on veterans and gun owners with no violent criminal history."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fla. Standoff Suspect Dies after Killing Two Cops, Wounding Marshal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- As many as 200 rounds were fired in a close-quarters firefight inside the attic of a Florida home, leaving two cops dead along with an ex-con who was wanted for aggravated battery.

After the initial volley of gunfire, and news that two St. Petersburg Police Department officers and a deputy U.S. marshal had been wounded, SWAT officers entered the home again in a dangerous rescue operation that involved more gunfire, tear gas, and an armored truck that rammed the house in order to create a hole in the side of the building.

One of the wounded officers was trapped inside the attic, and in order to rescue the mortally wounded cop the SWAT team had to battle its way back into the attic under heavy gunfire.

Cops showed up at the home about 7 a.m. Monday looking to interview a relative of Hydra Lacy, 39, who was wanted for aggravated battery. The relative, believed to be his wife, told officers Lacy was hiding in the attic and was potentially armed.

The cops walked into an ambush. Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz went up into the attic and was quickly shot down. Yaslowitz, the father of three, is a member of the department's canine unit whose shift had ended but had volunteered to help respond to a call for backup at the Lacy home.

An unidentified deputy marshal on his heels was wounded twice in the exchange. The marshal is in stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center.

Sgt. Tom Baitinger, 48, a veteran detective, tried to rescue Yaslowitz from the attic. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and holding a ballistic shield in front of him, but Police Chief Chuck Harmon indicated with his hands that the bullet came from above. Baitinger, who died, had been with the department since 1996.

For hours, police tried to contact the gunman, unsure if he "was wounded, or laying in wait," said Police Chief Chuck Harmon.

Six hours after the initial melee and the last moment of contact with the gunman, a heavily armored SWAT team entered the home and found the gunman dead.

At an afternoon press conference Harmon held mementos of the fallen cops -- a badge, a gold wedding ring, and two rubber bracelets -- given to him as the men were rushed to the hospital.

"This crook, this criminal, this murderer, this cop killer -- whatever you want to call him -- did a terrible injustice," Harmon said. "I feel a lot of anger…I feel remorse for the families It will take days of healing before we get through this."

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said, "It's a dark day for the city of St. Petersburg," and said the officers and the cops who went into the building to rescue them "showed tremendous bravery."

Monday's shooting came as law enforcement officials released data showing that 10 cops have been killed nationwide in the line of duty so far this year, a very bloody start to the year. Last year, 61 officers died in the line of duty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio