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Article updated: 11/30/2011 6:09 AM

Police: Woodstock cop hurt by suspect with homemade torch

By Paul Biasco

Woodstock police responding to a domestic disturbance call early Tuesday morning were met at the door by a man who burned one officer with a homemade flame thrower and later eluded police for nearly 4 hours, officials said.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department sent a SWAT Team to the home on the 500 block of Central Parkway after Willie Dunigan III used an aerosol can and lighter to burn the hair of a female Woodstock police officer, police said.

The officer was suffered minor burns and was having trouble breathing due to the attack, officials said. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment and released.

A 27-year-old woman, who was the ex-girlfriend of Dunigan, called police at 5 a.m. reporting a possible domestic battery.

After fending off the first responding Woodstock officers with the makeshift torch, Dunigan barricaded himself in one of the bedrooms, prompting the SWAT response, police said.

McHenry County sheriff's deputies and SWAT Team members breached the door to the bedroom and discovered Dunigan had escaped through a second-floor window immediately after he barricaded the door, police said.

Authorities quickly notified area schools of the escape, leading to precautionary lockdowns.

Police dogs were brought to the scene, and Dunigan was located inside a nearby apartment unit about 9:30 a.m.

Northwood Middle School in Woodstock, which was placed on a modified lockdown, posted a note on its website stating all outside entrances were locked and students were kept inside the building during the search.

Dunigan, who lives in Chicago, was charged with aggravated arson, aggravated battery to a peace officer, aggravated unlawful restraint, domestic battery, two counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct, endangering the life of a child and resisting an officer, according to police.

The McHenry County states attorney's office is reviewing additional charges.

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