Friday, December 15, 2017

Standoff concludes without incident Tuesday evening

Standoff-intersectionAuthorities in Johnson County and Illinois State Police (ISP) District 22 confirmed the conclusion of a four-day standoff that began Saturday with officers responding to a domestic disturbance on Old Cypress Road near Vienna and ended Tuesday evening with the arrest of two residents.

Charles F. Averitt, 79, of Vienna was transported to Massac County Jail and charged with Aggravated Assault to a Peace Officer. Clarence E. Averitt, 74, of Vienna was also transported to Massac County Jail and charged with Aggravated Assault to a Peace Officer.

According to a statement released by ISP Tuesday night, Charles Averitt and brother Clarence refused to cooperate with law enforcement officials and barricaded themselves inside their residence.

Authorities confirmed no one was injured in the standoff and additional charges may follow. A third brother was at the home when officers arrived Saturday, but left the house on his own when requested. He is not named in the complaint and no charges are to be filed. A first appearance date for the Averitt brothers has not been set at this time in a Johnson County court.

Tuesday morning authorities confirmed that the known presence of firearms in the absence of a Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) would keep troopers present until the situation resulted in an arrest. The length of the standoff had neighbors questioning if it was necessary. A regional newspaper quoted a neighbor who declined to give his name saying, “If the cops would just leave and leave them alone it would just be over.”

While authorities had little to say about the standoff while it was in progress, state police issued a press statement late Monday night confirming the occupants “refused to cooperate with law enforcement officials and the investigation remains ongoing.”

Authorities confirmed Tuesday morning that Illinois State Police (ISP) District 22 had lead of the situation due to a local conflict of interest.

Johnson County Sheriff Elry Faulkner confirmed with the Vienna Times Tuesday morning that ISP would remain on the scene until the situation resulted in an arrest due to the presence of firearms without legal registration.

The standoff began Saturday afternoon when a Johnson County Deputy Sheriff responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at the Averitt residence that resulted in a threat on an officer’s life. After one of the three brothers safely left the residence Saturday afternoon, the police closed off Old Cypress Road to traffic and enacted a perimeter around the home as the remaining two refused to exit the home. Illinois State Police were called to assist and deployed its SWAT unit and crisis negotiators to the scene until its conclusion Tuesday evening.

“Over the past several days, Illinois State Police Special Operations Command units and other police personnel have responded and remain on the scene to assist the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department with this incident,” Ken Ryder, Acting ISP Captain, said in press release Monday evening before the standoff concluded. “We want the community residents to know that the matter remains ongoing and the incident is being closely monitored by law enforcement.”

State police did say that they were thankful the incident was isolated to a rural area that minimized the danger to others.

Throughout the standoff Sheriff Faulker maintained that his primary goal was to see it through without anyone getting hurt.

“It’s over,” Faulker told the Times Tuesday after the arrests. “No one was injured, they’re in custody, it’s over.”

According to ISP, the case has been referred to the Johnson County States Attorney for prosecution.

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