FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — Police in Freeport took an armed gunman into custody in the 2000 block of N. Harlem Center Road after a lengthy standoff Tuesday afternoon.
According to Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders, around 1:20 p.m., police received a call from a woman saying 30-year-old Clinton Keasler was “despondent” over personal issues, and had taken a shotgun and a pistol and other guns and was considered a danger to himself or others.
“He was armed with a shotgun and a pistol, and we learned later that he had other rifles in his possession,” said Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders. “He was threatening troopers who were on route 20. They were able to get out of his, any line of fire, but they did have eyes on him from the bypass 20. There were acquaintances who ran into the woods on the east side of Harlem Center once he began displaying the gun, and threatening to shoot people.
“Rifle rounds could travel a couple hundred yards, so anybody that’s close, you really don’t want anyone getting hurt,” said Lt. Joseph Blanchette of Illinois State Police District 16.
When police arrived, Synders said they were able to see Keasler firing randomly in the air. Snyders said police were advised Keasler had been drinking since Monday night.
A police negotiator made contact with Keasler, who came out into the driveway of the home and stood in the middle of the road, waving his pistol. Snyders said Keasler indicated that he wished for the officers to shoot and kill him.
“Our negotiator from the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department began negotiating with him. She made contact by phone, negotiated him for quite some time, and while this was going on he continued to randomly shoot into the air, and we’re not sure if he was shooting at anything or anyone,” Snyders said. We had him in our sight at all times, and because of the presence there from law enforcement I would say at that time they weren’t in any danger.”
He then went back up the driveway to the house, but police were eventually able to get Keasler to come back out and surrender.
He was taken to Freeport Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Police said that he will be arrested and taken to the Stephenson County Jail, where he will be held without bond, after he has checked out.
Snyders said Keasler had no criminal history and did have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
Charges in the case are expected to be forthcoming from the Stephenson County State’s Attorney’s Office, Snyders said. An investigation is currently ongoing.