Parolee charged in Waukegan home barricade
— Lake County News-Sun and Sun-Times Media Wire September 21, 2013 2:52PM
Donald Palmer / photo from Waukegan police
Updated: September 21, 2013 8:11PM
A man on parole was charged after he barricaded himself inside a three-story apartment building in Waukegan Friday morning after a dispute with a woman.
Donald Palmer, 37, of the 300 block of George Avenue, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, unlawful possession of firearm ammunition by a felon, unlawful possession of a stolen firearm, obstruction of justice and violation of parole.
Police received a call at 10:50 a.m. from an apartment in the 300 block of George Avenue where the caller said nothing and hung up, according to Waukegan police. No one answered the phone when police called back. The home had a history of domestic disputes so police were sent to the home.
Responding officers spoke with a female outside the apartment who said she was arguing with Donald O. Palmer, who was still inside, police said. It was believed that Palmer had a handgun.
Nick Tyler, who lives southeast on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, said he was putting up a fence this morning when he heard a fight between a couple.
Tyler said he’s seen them fight before, but this morning’s dispute led to the suspect allegedly chasing a women into and out of the home.
The suspect ultimately grabbed a gun and pinned the woman to the ground in the alley behind the home, Tyler said. She was able to get loose and drive away, Tyler added.
An active arrest warrant was issued for Palmer after a neighborhood shooting a week earlier that wounded a man in the back, police said. Sgt. David DeBaufer said police believe the man may be the shooter in a Sept. 13 incident at the same address in which a man was shot in the buttocks.
Officers spoke with Palmer multiple times on the phone and ordered him to leave the building, police said. When he refused, officers surrounded the building and used a bullhorn to make multiple demands for Palmer to leave the building.
DeBaufer said two people, a father and grown son, exited the building early on in the incident. Nearby schools were placed on lock down and traffic in the area was diverted.
During the standoff, police closed off several streets within a three block radius of the home.
Schools were released from lockdown about 4 p.m. and secure exit plans were established, police said. An automated phone message was sent to residents to remain in their homes but were able to leave their homes with an escort, police said, but couldn’t get back in until the situation was resolved.
Students who walk home from nearby Carman-Buckner Elementary were forced to wait for parents to pick them up, said Waukegan schools spokesman Nick Alajakis.
“They’re just doing it for our safety to keep us away in case the bullets start flying,” said Rosalyn Finch, 53, of Waukegan, who was visiting her sister in the nearby Utica Street Housing Project. “We just hope he comes out alive.”
Gas was deployed at 7:40 p.m. to force Palmer out of the building, which he refused to leave, police said. A SWAT team entered the building and Palmer was taken into custody without incident. A .22 caliber gun was also found.
The building was temporarily uninhabitable and the city placed tenants in a hotel, police said. Tenants are expected to be able to return by Saturday evening.
Palmer was paroled in March after serving a prison sentence for a previous robbery conviction. It is expected that his parole will be revoked and he will serve the remaining time on his prison sentence as well as any additional charges he may be convicted of.
He is scheduled to appear Sunday for a bond hearing at the Lake County Jail facility at 20 S. County in Waukegan.