Last Friday afternoon, Forest Park police responded to a call at Harvard and Marengo of a young man waving a gun through the sunroof of a car. By the time police arrived, that person had moved inside the apartment building at that intersection and into an apartment he shared with his grandmother.
What followed was a two-hour standoff between the man and a gathering of police from multiple communities. Two shots were reportedly fired by the man. One was aimed within the building, the other out the first-floor window in an undetermined direction.
Tom Aftanas, Forest Park’s police chief, described the incident as “the most tense situation I’ve been in in a very long time.” Despite that tension, the department saw the unfolding drama as the result of a mental health breakdown rather than a criminal situation. And they treated it as such.
Sgt. Nick DeFors negotiated via a loudspeaker for more than an hour, the grandmother was able to speak to the suspect and eventually the young man dropped his gun out the window and was apprehended as he came through the window himself. He was transported to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
This is how policing is supposed to work. Understanding the nuances of a situation, de-escalating the encounter, coming to a non-violent conclusion. Gratitude and respect to the department for its strong effort. We have been critical of this department in the past when conflicts ended in shots fired. This challenging conflict ended well.