SWAT team called to Gillespie area for standoff

SWAT team called to Gillespie area for standoff

GILLESPIE (Nov. 9, 2017) – A 911 call by a concerned driver Tuesday morning resulted in the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System SWAT team being called to a residence on the western end of Quarry Road, near Gillespie Lake, where a deceased male was found several hours later.

According to Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, his office received a 911 call about 10:26 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, from a female who was driving on Quarry Road behind a vehicle that was driving very erratically — going into ditches, hitting embankments, driving into cornfields and bean fields, doing donuts and spinning out. “It was way more excessive than a typical drunk driver,” Kahl said. “It appeared to her he was intentionally driving off the roadway.”

Kahl said the vehicle struck a power pole, breaking it in half, and also struck a utility service box, which it ran over before continuing westbound on Quarry Road. It pulled into a lane, and the caller could see from the roadway that the car was smoking. She watched as the car parked and a male got out of the car and went inside the house.

At that time, Kahl and a deputy were en route to the location and he called Gillespie Police Department for assistance. Gillespie Police Department arrived on the scene first and met with the caller. Once Kahl and the deputy arrived on the scene, they (along with Illinois State Police) went up the driveway. They were unable to make contact with anyone inside the house, so the sheriff’s lieutenant made phone contact with the owners of the house, who were not home at the time but advised the male could be a relative; police were eventually able to confirm the male was the residents’ son, Nathan M. Heaton, 32, of Gillespie. The lieutenant was advised by Heaton’s parents that Heaton was possibly distraught and would have access to a weapon in the home.

At that time, deciding it would be unsafe due to lack of cover, Kahl and the lieutenant backed away from the house but stayed within several hundred yards so they could keep an eye on the residence. They continued to give verbal commands using the loudspeakers on their squad cars, asking the subject to come out of the house, but there was no response and no movement in the house. Kahl then called the ILEAS SWAT team (which is comprised of members from eight counties), who took over the scene when they arrived, though Kahl stayed on the scene.

The SWAT team attempted to use a negotiator, but no contact was ever able to be made with Heaton. After several hours, the SWAT team decided to send a robot inside the house. The robot located Heaton, who was believed to be deceased; the SWAT team then entered the residence to confirm that finding. At that time, the scene was secured, the Macoupin County Coroner’s Office called, and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigators notified.

Kahl said there was “nothing suspicious” about the incident. “It’s a tragedy,” he said.

Funeral services for Heaton will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 13, at Kravanya Funeral Home in Gillespie, with visitation beginning at 4 p.m.