A man has been sentenced to supervision for a several-hour-long SWAT standoff prompted by him allegedly displaying guns after becoming upset with his neighbors in Woodstock.
The incident began around 5:13 p.m. on August 2 in the 400 block of Lake Avenue in Woodstock.
Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said an officer was on routine patrol when a juvenile flagged the officer down.
The officer met with the juvenile’s parents, who reported their neighbor, later identified as Mathew L. Eames, 50, of Woodstock, had just displayed two different guns toward them, Lieb said.
They believed Eames displayed the guns as a form of intimidation because they were making noise, Lieb said.
Officers learned there were three people who were in the residence where the firearms were.
The Woodstock Police Department and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office established a perimeter around the residence.
The adjacent houses were evacuated and others were advised to shelter in place.
Vehicle traffic on Lake Avenue was stopped and the nearby train traffic was also halted to “further minimize any possible threat to the innocent public,” Lieb said.
Officers were able to eventually gain the attention of one of the subjects from inside the house. Eames, who lives at the residence, was taken into custody.
Lieb said multiple methods were used without success to attempt to communicate with the remaining two people inside the residence.
Officers then obtained a search warrant to enter the residence.
Members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team responded to the scene to assist in executing the warrant.
The two remaining occupants of the residence were detained, interviewed and released.
A total of three firearms were collected from the residence as evidence, Lieb said.
Eames was initially charged with one count of enhanced possession of a firearm without a FOID card, a Class 4 felony.
Prosecutors later dismissed the felony charge and charged him with one count of possession of a firearm without a FOID card, a Class A misdemeanor, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a Class A misdemeanor.
A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County Circuit Court said Eames possessed a Ruger AR-15 rifle without a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card.
Eames was transported to the McHenry County Jail and police cleared the scene by around 10:30 p.m., more than five hours after the incident began.
McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Shelby Page said during an initial court hearing that Eames pointed a gun at his neighbors and made statements the neighbors described to be racial in nature regarding their Mexican heritage.
The victims provided a description of the gun to officers and one of the firearms recovered matched the description, Page said.
During the court hearing, Eames said the guns belonged to his wife and he was not aware his FOID card had expired.
Eames has been out of custody since his arrest on a $15,000 bond.
Court records show Eames entered into a negotiated plea deal with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office this week.
He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm without a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card, a Class A misdemeanor. His second charge of aggravated assault was then dismissed.
McHenry County Judge Christopher Harmon approved the plea deal and sentenced Eames to one year of court supervision.