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Chicago Ridge Deputy Fire Chief Charged

Chicago Ridge Deputy Fire Chief Gary Swiercz, 49, has been charged with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated criminal sexual assault and residential burglary.

Police say Swiercz broke into a woman’s south suburban home Saturday morning, armed with a knife, and apparently forced her to the floor and beat her.

The Chicago Ridge Fire Department has placed him on administrative leave.

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For the first time, we’re hearing the chilling 9-1-1 call from the woman who was the victim of an attempted rape in Tinley Park. Former Chicago Ridge firefighter, Gary Swiercz, is accused of carrying out this horrific attack on the woman, who was a neighbor.

Listen to the tape, and you hear her terrified voice in the background.

“I was sleeping on the couch,” the victim can be heard saying.   “I woke up and someone was there.  He had a mask on and smelled like liquor.”

Investigators say the woman was brutalized at the hands of Gary Swiercz early Saturday morning.  The attack took place at Ridge Firefighter who lived in the same building on the 81-hundredd block of 168th Place.  Struggling to control her emotions, the victim gives dispatchers the details, describing how a masked intruder dressed in black held a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her, bashing her head against the floor when she resisted.

“He slammed my head on the floor as hard as he could several times.  There`s a big bump on my head.”

The intruder held his hand over her mouth, the victim told detectives, dragging her into the kitchen.  But before he could complete the assault, the firefighter fled out the apartment door, police say.  When the investigation quickly led to Swiercz, prosecutors say he confessed to the crime, telling police he realized during the attack what he was doing was wrong.

In the minutes before police arrived, Swiercz apparently removed his mask and black clothing and went to the victim, who was on the phone in another neighbor’s apartment, talking to 911.

“Gary!  I went up to you but you weren`t there,” she tells the alleged attacker.

Prosecutors say you can hear Swiercz voice on the tape.  “I just came home,” he says.  “What happened?”

“Somebody tried to rape me,” the victim responds, not knowing she’s talking to the man who allegedly attacked her.  The Cook County State’s attorney office says the victim unwittingly viewed the firefighter as a trusted neighbor.

A former deputy fire chief had a court hearing Tuesday morning in connection with charges he violently attacked a neighbor.

This comes one day after Gary Swiercz retired from the Chicago Ridge fire department after 24 years.

In court today we learned the victim in this case, actually ran to Gary Swiercz’s apartment after she was attacked, looking for help, because she knew he was a firefighter.  He wasn’t home, but his door was open.  Prosecutors say she didn’t recognize him as her attacker because he was wearing a ski mask.

Gary Swiercz walked into the Bridgeview courthouse expecting a preliminary hearing only to learn the state’s attorney office had filed a motion to deny his bond, claiming he was a real and present threat to the public.

Swiercz was just released from the Cook County jail yesterday on a $150,000 bond and ordered to wear an electronic home monitoring braclet, while staying at his father’s home in Worth.

Swiercz, a former deputy fire chief with the Chicago Ridge fire department, is facing several charges, including attempted murder, aggravated attempted criminal sexual assault, and burglary after investigators say he broke into the home of a woman who lived in his Tinley Park condo building around 2:30am Saturday.

Prosecutors say he was wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife, duct tape, rope, a sex toy and lubricant.  The woman says she was asleep on her couch when he covered her mouth, and put a knife to her throat and asked her if “she wanted to die and bleed.”

She says he then forced her into the kitchen where he grabbed her by her hair and slammed her to the ground three times.  She says he then ran out the back door, the same door he came in.

Witnesses say they later saw Swiercz throwing items into the dumpster.  When police questioned Swiercz later, he was wearing black make-up around his eyes and they say he confessed to attacking the woman and told them he realized he was a public servant and shouldn’t being doing that, so he ran out.

The judge denied the state’s request to reconsider bail, saying the state did not present any new evidence.

Afterwards, Swiercz left the courthouse with a police escort, at the request of his attorney.

Still no possible explanation for Swiercz’s behavior that night.  His attorney refused a request for an interview, but in court on Sunday she speculated a medication error may have had something to do with his behavior but she wouldn’t go into detail.

Swiercz will be back in court on February 7th where the indictment is expected to be read.

As for the victim, we have learned she has left the area and is now suffering severe headaches from the Saturday’s attack.

A deputy fire chief from Chicago Ridge is retiring; but it’s unlikely Gary Swiercz was going to return from being suspended over the weekend.

He was arrested and charged with breaking into a neighbor’s condo in Tinley Park, beating her, sexually assaulting her and trying to kill her.

Swiercz is free on bond and living at his father’s home in worth; but he must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

He is in court this morning in Bridgeview.

A suburban deputy fire chief charged with a host of crimes including attempted murder, sexual assault and burglary resigned Monday.

The Chicago Ridge Department accepted the retirement of Gary Swiercz, 49, effective immediately, according to a statement. Swiercz was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. He’s been with the department for nearly 25 years.

Police say Swiercz  broke into the home of a woman in his condo building over the weekend wearing a ski mask and carrying with him a knife, duct tape, rope, a sex toy and lubricant.

Prosecutors say he put a blade to her throat and threw her to the ground multiple times.

A deputy fire chief in the Southwest suburbs was released from jail today after posting bond.

Gary Swiercz posted the $15,000 needed to leave jail on bond, but he will not be going back to work.

The Chicago Ridge Fire Department has placed him on administrative leave.

The 49-year old Gary Swiercz returned from jail to his father’s home in Southwest suburban Worth.

The Tinley Park resident has been charged with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated criminal sexual assault and residential burglary.

Swiercz earned the rank of deputy chief five years ago in Chicago Ridge.  He’s been with the department for nearly 25 years.

He’s accused of breaking into the home of a woman who lives in his condo building.

Police say he was wearing a ski mask and carrying a folding knife.  Prosecutors say he had duct tape, rope, a sex toy and lubricant.

During his bond hearing over the weekend it was alleged Swiercz put his hand over the woman’s mouth while she was sleeping and put a blade to her throat.

He forced her into the kitchen, prosecutors say, where he threw her down, grabbed her hair and slammed her on the floor multiple times.

He left through a back door and witnesses say they saw him throw away some items in a dumpster.

Swiercz’s attorney said in court the incident was out of character and could be due to a medication error.

He has been ordered on electronic monitoring.

Swiercz has a prior arrest for domestic battery back in 1996.

The Chicago Ridge deputy fire chief was arrested over the weekend and accused in a brutal home invasion in Tinley Park.

Gary Swiercz is also facing attempted murder and sexual assault charges.

Police say he broke into a woman’s south suburban home Saturday morning, armed with a knife.  He forced her to the floor and then beat her, according to police.

He was later found by officers in the building’s parking lot.

Chicago Ridge Fire Department officials announced Sunday that Swiercz has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into the charges.

Swiercz is free on bond with an electronic monitoring bracelet after he posted $15,000 Sunday night. That is 10-percent of $150,000 bond that was set.

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