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Chicago police end 9-hour standoff with flash-bang

Joseph Andrew Felton Jr., 43, — wanted for the murder of his wife in Georgia earlier this month — was bleeding from cuts to his wrists, apparently self-inflicted by a knife

By Jeremy Gorner, Stephanie Baer and Meredith Rodriguez
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A nearly nine-hour stand-off on Lake Shore Drive ended late Sunday night when a murder suspect from Georgia was arrested after police tossed a flash-bang grenade at his black car to disorient and stun him, police said.

Joseph Andrew Felton Jr., 43, — wanted for the murder of his wife in Georgia earlier this month — was bleeding from cuts to his wrists, apparently self-inflicted by a knife or other sharp object, a police source said.  He was taken to a hospital shortly before 10 p.m. and charges were pending this morning, police said.

The arrest ended a chaotic chain of events that began around 12:30 p.m. with a police chase from Harvey through the South Side of Chicago, ending near the Fullerton exit of Lake Shore Drive when Felton rear-ended a car carrying a woman and a boy, police and witnesses said.

Felton rammed other cars and attempted to strike a Chicago police officer, prompting police to fire at the car, according to the Illinois state police. Felton's car came to rest in the grass just to the east of the northbound lanes as police surrounded it with guns drawn, according to police and witnesses.

One driver said he heard 10 to 12 shots and jumped into the back seat of his car to shield his child and his wife who were crouched down on the floor.  "I've never seen anything like this in my life," the witness said. "It was very violent."

Lake Shore Drive was shut down as Felton refused to leave his car. Police talked to him throughout the afternoon by cell phone and through a loud speaker attached to an armored Hummer, police said.  Felton's sisters, who live in Chicago, also talked to him by phone but Felton refused to surrender, police said.

"He's just afraid," said one of the sisters, Lastella Felton, describing him as "very discombobulated."

Police said Felton's car had dark-tinted windows that made it difficult to see Felton inside. "He told negotiators he was armed with a large number of guns and was not coming out alive," said Chicago Chief of Patrol Wayne Gulliford. "The suspect did threaten to harm himself and police if they approached."

Finally, around 9:30 p.m., police used the flash bang grenate and Felton was taken into custody. He could be seen being taken from the scene on a stretcher.  A police source said no guns were found inside.
Police say Felton is a suspect in the murder of his wife, Sheray Latriest Felton, who was found dead in her home in Hampton, Ga. on March 8.

During the days after the murder, Sheray Felton's mother in Chicago tried to call her daughter, the family has told police. Felton would answer the phone and say she wasn't home or couldn't come to the phone, police said.

The mother finally flew from Chicago to Atlanta to see her daughter, police said. Officers were called and forced their way into the Felton home and found the wife's body.  Joseph Felton was gone.

Sometime during the week, Felton showed up at one of his sister's homes in Chicago, the family has told police. The sister refused to let him in and called police, a source said.

Harvey police went to a home in the south suburb where they believed Felton might be, authorities said. When officers showed up there Sunday morning, Felton fled and led Harvey police and then state troopers on a chase the ended with a crash on Lake Shore Drive, police said.

The first car hit by Felton contained a woman and a boy, according to a witness. They were able to get out of the car before shots were fired by police and officers surrounded the car, he said. "Her head was bloody," he said, "and she had a boy in the car with her that had to be between 10 and 11."

Police tried to negotiate with the suspect soon afterward. At about 3:30 p.m., police told him through a bullhorn: "If you want to come out, wave your hands."

A little later, a relative was put on the bullhorn, telling Felton to come out so he could be taken to the hospital. A little before 4 p.m., a police SWAT van began approaching the car, according to those at the scene and people watching from nearby high-rise buildings.

CTA bus routes that usually run on Lake Shore Drive and nearby were rerouted. Sunday afternoon traffic on Lake Shore Drive was backed up for miles and ramps were clogged with traffic. Some drivers went the wrong way on on-ramps to get off of the drive. Others created pathways through trees and grass on medians to get onto North Marine Drive.

Around 2 p.m. near West Irving Park Road, a CTA No. 147 bus let passengers out to run across the median onto North Marine Drive.

On surface streets west of the drive, throughout Lakeview and Lincoln Park, traffic crawled Sunday afternoon as drivers found alternate routes to their destinations.

Copyright 2014 the Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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