A man who barricaded himself in a Waukegan residence and allegedly tried setting sheriff’s deputies on fire was charged and is being treated at a mental health facility following the Tuesday standoff.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Team attempted to serve a mental health writ on a 38-year-old man around 9:40 a.m. Tuesday in the 1-100 block of Philippa Avenue in Waukegan.
The mental health writ was issued by a Lake County judge ordering police to take the man into custody and transport him to a mental health hospital.
Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that as civil process deputies attempted to make entry, they realized the front door of the single-family residence, which is divided into apartments, was barricaded shut by a large piece of furniture.
The landlord gave sheriff’s deputies permission to force entry through the front door, which leads to a common area of the home, Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner. The 38-year-old man exited his second-floor apartment and was non-compliant with deputies as he stood at the top of the stairway.
He then sprayed lighter fluid through a lighter, causing a stream of fire to spray onto the sheriff’s deputies. The deputies were not burned because they had blocked the stream using their shield, Covelli said.
A small fire was ignited in the foyer. The deputies retreated and retrieved a fire extinguisher from their squad car and extinguished the fire. They also began crisis communication with the man and called for additional assistance.
Members of the Sheriff’s Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST), Sheriff’s Negotiations Team, and Crisis Intervention Team spent several hours talking to the man, attempting to have him surrender peacefully, Covelli said.
The man continued being non-compliant throughout hours of negotiation, Covelli explained, adding that the man was armed with knives and told deputies to “come get him” several times.
“Members of the Sheriff’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) responded and formulated a plan to safely take the man into custody. TRT operators introduced pepper-based dispersion into the apartment, however, this did not cause the man to exit,” Covelli said.
TRT operators also fired beanbag rounds toward the man when he appeared near his doorway with the knives. The beanbag rounds caused him to drop one of the knives and retreat back into his apartment.
TRT operators breached the second-floor windows and entered the apartment through one of those windows, while other deputies continued communications with him. Officers took the man safely into custody by around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday.
The man was transported to a mental health facility. An arrest warrant for aggravated battery to a peace officer was issued for the man during the standoff.
Additional charges are expected to be reviewed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Our first priority is ensuring he gets the mental health treatment he needs. He’s currently being treated at a mental health facility, versus jail,” Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
Washington Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Jackson Street was closed during the incident. Area schools were put on a precautionary soft lockdown, which included Waukegan High School Washington Campus, Abbott Middle School, Juarez Middle School and Career Academy AOEC.