CHICAGO — Officially all a Chicago police spokesperson will say is that “a SWAT situation peacefully concluded.” But the untold story is far more sinister.
While police and fire officials have refused to comment, WGN Investigates has learned a Chicago Fire Department candidate threatened to shoot-up the fire academy Monday after he was terminated from the program. He had access to guns and made several threats before being arrested in his car two miles from the fire facility.
A tip from a relative along with quick reactions by police and dispatchers appear to have helped avert the threat.
The man apparently went home after being terminated and told a relative he intended to carry-out a shooting at the fire academy, according to a source. When the man refused the relative’s plea to stay home and then left with at least one gun the relative called 911, according a source.
“He was terminated from his employment today – he took a gun and fled – [he] threatened to shoot-up the fire academy,” is the message broadcast by a Chicago police dispatcher midday Monday after the man fled from officers at 31st Street and Indiana Avenue. It prompted a large police response including members of the SWAT team.
“The fire academy has been notified and there’s police on scene at the fire academy waiting for him,” a dispatcher said according to recordings available via Broadcastify.
Officers began searching for the man’s blue Toyota Camry across the South Loop and the near South Side. Officers reacquired the man’s vehicle near 23rd Street and Federal Street, approximately two miles from the fire academy.
“They’re talking to him now,” an officer on the scene said over police radio. “They’re trying to coax him out of the car, out of the vehicle.”
The man eventually surrendered and was taken to a hospital for observation.
A police spokesperson would not say whether the man may face charges and directed all questions to the fire department which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.