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Rogers Park Standoff Ends After Man Threatens To Hurt Police, Himself

By  Linze Rice and Joe Ward | August 18, 2016 12:28pm | Updated on August 18, 2016 3:44pm

 Chicago Police's SWAT team has been deployed to Rogers Park, where a man had barricaded himself in an apartment and was threatening to jump from the building, police and witnesses said.
Rogers Park SWAT Situation
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ROGERS PARK — Hours after barricading himself in an apartment and threatening to jump from a window, a man who caused a standoff in Rogers Park was hospitalized Thursday. 

He was taken into custody "without incident" just after 2 p.m. and was sent to Illinois Masonic Hospital, though no injuries were reported, police at the scene said. 

A Chicago Police SWAT team had been deployed to the 1600 block of West Farwell Avenue about 9:45 a.m. responding to reports that a man had barricaded himself inside a top-floor apartment, said Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman.

It was the second standoff with police on the Far North Side in recent weeks, with police earlier taking a man who had barricaded himself in the Heart 'O' Chicago Motel into custody.

The man could be seen by passersby hanging out of the window of an apartment complex, threatening officers and telling authorities that he would jump, a witness said. 

The man also threatened responding officers, yelling "f--- the police" and making a gun motion with his fingers pointed toward his neighbors. 

William Meek, a resident of the building, vice president of the building's condo association and owner of Rogers Park Social, said the suicide threat came after a bizarre morning, when Meek said the man threatened to kill him and his husband and burn down their businesses. 

Meek and others identified the man as the same person who has caused problems in the past, including chasing a neighbor with a machete after being told to turn his music down. He has been "terrorizing" neighbors of the building ever since, they said.

Meek said he has lived in the building for about five years, and though he had witnessed the man's outbursts of anger in the past, he had never been in a face-to-face confrontation with him until he returned to the condo about three months ago after spending months away. 

"He snapped," Meek said. 

Meek said he saw the man without pants or underwear sitting in the front courtyard of the condo building taking pictures and yelling at passersby. 

He also began playing music loudly "at all times, day or night," Meek said, even when he left his home. 

When neighbors asked him to turn down the music, he attacked them with a machete, Meek said. 

Those residents spent several days at a hotel while the man — identified as Alan Cuevas, though Meek says he knows him by the name Ernesto — skipped court and smeared dog feces on the complaining neighbor's door and door knob, according to neighbors who declined to give their names, citing fear of retaliation.

Witnesses said Thursday that things had "come to a head" at the building after a brief earl morning car chase with police. 

Cuevas had "flooded" the building repeatedly in recent weeks, causing damage to the two units below him after he left water on in his apartment. He did the same thing during Thursday's police standoff, neighbors said. 

While police pursued Cuevas Thursday morning, a locksmith, police and others worked to get into Cuevas' apartment to stop the water, Meek said. 

After the brief chase ended, Cuevas sneaked back into the building and his standoff with police began, Meek said.

Officer Estrada said the man was the only one in the apartment at the time of the standoff.

He "booby-trapped" the back walkway of the building, Meek said, including concealing shards of broken glass with dirt and sod. 

A resident of the building said last night, Cuevas had propped a fire extinguisher against the door of a neighbor who had complained about the music. At that point, she said she "knew something was wrong."

Neighbors in the building and others nearby were told to stay inside while police negotiated with Cuevas.

Neighbors said that though the situation was disturbing, they also felt a sense of relief with hope tha the "terror" may be over.

Debbie Southhorn, a Rogers Park resident whose friend was trapped in the building during the standoff, said she hoped that more mental health resources would be deployed in similar standoffs rather than a "militarized response." 

[DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

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