A 52-year-old Lake Villa man is in police custody following a three-hour armed standoff Tuesday that forced the lockdown of three nearby schools.
Lake Villa Police Chief Ron Roth said the distraught man surrendered peacefully at 2:05 p.m., ending the standoff outside a home on the 200 block of Burnett Avenue, and the lockdown at the schools. No shots were fired.
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Roth said the unidentified man has not been charged with a crime at this point and was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
"We understand it created a lot of nervous parents, but it was better to be safe than sorry," Roth said of the lockdown. "The children were never in any danger, but because of where the incident was located, we decided it was best to lock down the schools."
The standoff started about 11 a.m. when the man unlocked a rifle from a gun safe in the home during a dispute with his wife, Roth said. She immediately fled the home and called police, Roth added.
The man was a resident of the home where the standoff took place and had a valid firearm owners' identification card to own the rifle, Roth said. The rifle and other assorted weapons were confiscated by police, he added.
Police surrounded the house and tried to talk the man out, and the Lake County Sheriff's Office was called in to assist, Roth said.
Pleviak Elementary and Palombi Middle schools, which are part of Lake Villa Elementary District 41, and Prince of Peace Catholic School, were placed on lockdown when the situation escalated, Roth said.
Pleviak is about one block north of Burnett Avenue, while Prince of Peace is located about one block east of the home where the standoff took place. Palombi is about one mile away on McKinley Avenue, but it was also placed on lockdown for precautionary reasons, authorities said.
District 41 Superintendent John Van Pelt said the district sent out word of the lockdown at 11 a.m. through its emergency phone network, followed by another notice at 2:05 p.m. to announce the end of the lockdown.
The second notification also said all after-school activities had been canceled, with the exception of a boys' basketball game played at Gavin Junior High School in Ingleside.
Van Pelt said police officers were stationed at both schools for precautionary reasons throughout the entire standoff.
Jason Price, a father of two students at Pleviak, watched the police activity intently about 1:30 p.m. from the parking lot of a Walgreens at Park and Grand avenues, clearly relieved students at Pleviak were safe.
"I was a little bit nervous," Price said. "But, I'm glad to hear nothing happened at the school. We were saying our prayers for that."