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Man in custody after 8-hour standoff, shooting flaming lighter fluid at deputies in Waukegan: sheriff

He allegedly sprayed flaming lighter fluid at deputies Tuesday inside a shared home in the north suburb.

Deputies responded Feb. 25, 2020 to a barricaded man in the first block of Philippa Avenue in Waukegan.
Deputies responded Feb. 25, 2020, to a barricaded man in the first block of Philippa Avenue in Waukegan.
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A barricaded man is in custody after he allegedly sprayed flaming lighter fluid at deputies Tuesday inside a shared home in north suburban Waukegan, prompting soft lockdowns at several nearby schools that lasted for hours.

About 9:40 a.m., sheriff’s deputies served a mental health writ for a 38-year-old man in the first block of Philippa Avenue, signed yesterday to take him to a mental health facility, according to Lake County sheriff’s office spokesman Chris Covelli.

Deputies arrived at the shared home, which was divided into apartments, and found a barricaded door leading to the commons area, Covelli said.

After getting permission from the owner to break through it, deputies did so and found the 38-year-old atop a flight of stairs, he said.

He then allegedly sprayed lighter fluid that he lit with a lighter, “creating a stream of fire,” hitting a deputy’s shield but not burning them, Covelli said.

The flames started a fire nearby, which the deputies put out with a fire extinguisher, he said.

The man retreated to his bedroom, Covelli said. SWAT team officers and negotiators were on scene. The man, who was armed with a knife, came to the top of the stairwell multiple times and told deputies to “come get me,” Covelli said in a statement.

The man was taken into custody about 4:20 p.m. and taken to a mental health facility, Covelli said in a statement. No one was injured.

“This was an extremely volatile and tense situation,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said in a statement.

“Our staff was interacting with an unstable man who was clearly in mental distress, and posed a risk to himself and others. I could not be prouder of our staff who took their time and worked together to take this man into custody without injury to him or anyone else. This is precisely what they train for and that training paid off today,” he said.

Several nearby schools were placed on soft lockdown during the barricade, including Waukegan High School Washington Campus, Abbott Middle School, Juarez Middle School, Career Academy AOEC and a daycare within a block of the incident, Covelli said.