3 held in suburban Chicago hostage standoff; 2 cops wounded

Police don body armor as authorities negotiate with two men who are barricaded in a home and holding a woman and five children hostage in Harvey, Ill., south of Chicago. AP / M. Spencer Green

Last Updated Aug 19, 2014 9:11 PM EDT

HARVEY, Ill. - Authorities were negotiating Tuesday with two men barricaded in a home and holding a woman and two children hostage in the south suburbs of Chicago. At least one of the men was thought to be armed. Officers, including a SWAT team, surrounded the home about five hours after the initial report.

Two police officers were wounded by gunfire after responding to the 12:43 p.m. burglary report, Howard said, Harvey city spokesman Sean Howard told The Associated Press.

Officer Darnell Keel, an 18-year veteran of the police force, was in stable condition at a hospital with a broken arm after an exchange of gunfire and would undergo surgery, Howard said. A second officer suffered a graze wound to an arm.

 

Negotiators from the Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff's Department were communicating with the hostage-takers, police said. Three other children were being held inside the house, but CBS Chicago reported they were released and that negotiations are progressing.

The standoff in Harvey, a city of 25,000 about 25 miles south of Chicago, followed a 911 call about a burglary in progress and the subsequent wounding of two police officers in an exchange of gunfire.

Howard said authorities do not know the hostage-takers, but have identified the hostages. They would not comment on the relationship between the hostages, but the woman is believed to be a nurse.

"Right now we don't want to jeopardize the integrity of negotiation process," Howard said. "We want to protect those children as much as we can. The less information right now the better."

Twenty-six law enforcement agencies were assisting, Howard said. An armored vehicle and officers in body armor with high-powered rifles could be seen in the neighborhood. The state police SWAT team was on the scene, said Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

A nearby middle school was evacuated, but only staff and not students were in the building.

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