Standoff in Waukegan ends with arrest of parolee from state prison
By Judy Masterson firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2013 3:22PM
Donald O. Palmer
Updated: November 22, 2013 3:25AM
A day-long police standoff on Waukegan’s south side came to an end at about 10 p.m. last Friday with the arrest of Donald O. Palmer, 37, who was paroled from a state prison in March where he had been serving time on a robbery conviction.
“We’re just thankful no one was harmed,” said Waukegan Police Sgt. David DeBaufer.
According to witnesses, Palmer, known in the neighborhood as “O.D.”, got into an altercation with his wife at their home in the 300 block of George Ave., one-half block west of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Neighbor Nick Tyler, 45, who lives near the couple, said he was putting up a fence in his yard when he saw an angry Palmer chase down his wife in the alley behind their home and hold a gun to her as she was lying on the ground.
Police received a hang-up 9-1-1 call at about 10:50 a.m. and when they arrived at the three-flat, a woman outside the home said she had argued with Palmer, who was still inside. The standoff ensued, with police flooding into the area, and the regional swat team, NIPAS (Northern Illinois Police Alarm System), including armored vehicles, arriving about noon.
A three-block area around the home was cordoned-off and residents of the area had to be escorted out and were not allowed back in. Large crowds gathered outside as police spent hours trying to coax Palmer out of the three-story house, first by phone, then when he stopped answering, by bullhorn. Two other residents of the apartment house were brought out by police.
According to DeBaufer, Palmer was wanted on an arrest warrant for the alleged shooting of a man at the same address on Sept. 13. Police records also show a history of domestic disputes involving Palmer.
At about 7:40 p.m., police launched canisters of tear gas into the residence and when Palmer still did not give himself up, SWAT officers went in and made the arrest. A .22 caliber handgun was found near Palmer, said DeBaufer, who could not say on which floor or where in the building he was found.
Palmer, who was scheduled to appear in bond court on Sunday, has been charged with numerous offenses, including 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.
Three nearby public schools, including Carmen-Buckner and Cooke Magnet elementary schools and EPIC Early Learning Center, were put on a brief lockdown during the incident.
DeBaufer said police helped place the other residents of the temporarily uninhabitable three-flat in a hotel for the night. Work to decontaminate the structure continued on Saturday.
The incident was the second NIPAS-involved standoff in two weeks in the city. In a similar incident on Sept. 8, police surrounded a Waukegan apartment building on the city’s west side for six hours after a report of an alleged armed suspect involved in a domestic altercation. That standoff ended when, after a teargas volley, police entered the Berwick Apartments building, located west of Lewis Avenue, and found the suspect had escaped.
An arrest warrant for aggravated battery has been issued for Michael Irvin, of Waukegan in that incident.
“He’s still at large,” DeBaufer said. “We’re actively looking.”
In a statement issued the day after Palmer’s arrest, Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles thanked NIPAS, other first responders, and anyone inconvenienced by the episode.
“The City of Waukegan thanks the area residents and the School District for their unconditional cooperation during this tense situation and we hope that this was not too great of a disruption to their daily lives,” Walles said.