Police Use Flash-Bang Grenade to Subdue Suspect

March 18, 2014
Police fired two separate times at a murder suspect during a chase and standoff on Lake Shore Drive.

Police fired two separate times at a murder suspect during a chase on Lake Shore Drive, but they did not hit him and eventually used a flash-bang grenade to subdue him and end a nearly nine-hour standoff near the Fullerton exit, officials said.

Joseph Andrew Felton Jr., 43 -- a suspect in the death of his wife in Georgia earlier this month -- was found bleeding from cuts to his wrists, apparently self-inflicted, when SWAT officers approached his black Chrysler 300 Sunday night, police sources said. He was taken to a hospital shortly before 10 p.m. and charges were still pending, police said.

The arrest closed a chaotic chain of events that began around 12:30 p.m. Sunday 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 at least one child, police and witnesses said.

The woman's car in turn damaged a police car. "In fear for their lives and safety, and that of the public, law enforcement officers from the Chicago Police and an outside law enforcement agency fired at the offender," Chicago police said in a statement, disclosing new details of the chase and standoff.

Felton sped off and continued north on Lake Shore Drive, police said. As he approached the Fullerton exit, Felton "intentionally" collided with a Chicago police car, authorities said.

"Chicago police officers approached the disabled vehicles to render aid," the statement said. "The offender was observed with what appeared to be a handgun in his hand and more shots were fired by Chicago police. The injured officer was moved to safety and the offender refused to exit his vehicle, which led to the barricade situation."

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 loudspeaker 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 grenade 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 the car.

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 Saturday. She had sought orders of protection against him twice in Will County, one in 2011 and the other last year.

In seeking the order in 2011, she alleged that they got into an argument over her new job on Dec. 13 while driving to Chicago, according to Will County records.

"I then asked him to take me home and he refused to," she said in court documents. "He then told me that he was going to crash the car with both of us in it and kill us."

She said Joseph Fenton bit her thumb when she tried to remove the keys from the ignition and "back-handed" her on the face, causing her nose and lip to bleed, the order states.

In the 2013 order, Sheray Felton stated she was afraid of Joseph Felton because of his "extreme jealousy."

"Joseph is also verbally abusive to me," the order states. "He will tell me that I'm going to die all the time. He will tell me he will kill me and my son if I try to leave him."

Joseph Felton was charged with domestic battery in July 2013. Sheray Felton alleged he struck her in the face and pulled her wig from her head, but the charge was later dropped when Sheray Felton did not appear in court.

During the days after Felton's murder, her mother in Chicago tried to call her daughter, the family has told police. Joseph 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 who 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 the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, traffic crawled Sunday afternoon as drivers found alternate routes to their destinations.

Copyright 2014 - Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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