Mo. house found empty after 6-hour siege

By Joel Currier and Bill Bryan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Copyright 2006 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
ST. LOUIS- Police found nobody home Tuesday evening at a house in the Hill neighborhood after a 6 1/2-hour siege complete with snipers, a hostage response team, a negotiator and several rounds of tear-gas fire.

Police were seeking a man wanted for questioning in a killing early Monday in a rural area of Madison County north of Edwardsville.

The victim, Christopher L. Olson, 35, a roofer from Portage des Sioux, was shot to death, probably about 4 a.m. Monday, officials said. His body was discovered by a passing motorist about 6 a.m.

Major Case Squad investigators got a tip Tuesday that a possible suspect was staying at a house on Sublette Avenue, authorities said.

Police confirmed the man was inside the house in the 2600 block of Sublette with a friend of his girlfriend. When that person left the home early Tuesday afternoon to discard trash, she spotted detectives.

Police took her into custody, and she confirmed that the man was inside the house. The man was believed to be armed.

Police fired several rounds of tear gas into the home about 5:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. But when they entered the house, the man was gone.

Police Chief Joseph Mokwa said detectives recovered some evidence from inside the home and identified skid marks possibly from the tires of Olson's car.

Neighbors watched the scene from alleys and surrounding streets.

"I can't believe this," said Laura Caputa, 57, who has lived on Magnolia Avenue her entire life. "Nothing like this ever happens around here. This is unreal."

Police ended the siege about 7:30 p.m. after confirming the home was empty.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Madison County Sheriff's Department at 618-692-0871. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call 618-296-3000. 



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