A Scare in The Neighborhood

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Residents were told to leave their homes and numerous streets were blocked off around Arizona Street. A man armed with a handgun held police at bay from inside his own home for more than five hours.

Fifty-three-year-old Harvey Kirk kept police at bay inside a house on 2004 Arizona Street. It was only after about five and a half hours that Kirk surrendered peacefully.

At about 8:00 a.m. an officer showed up to Harvey Kirk's house to issue an eviction notice. Kirk and his dog returned from a walk, the officer approached him, knocked the officer over with a door as Kirk ran into the house. The officer noticed a gun and called for backup. Before long the swat team, negotiators and numerous county and city police were on scene.

Sgt. Michael Booker with the Rockford Police Department says about 20 homes were evacuated. While neighbors stood in shock family member's say this hostage situation isn't surprising. Jane Kirk’s sons fiancé says, “He hit a huge depression stage and pushed the family away. In the last two years, his wife died and he lost his business."

Kirk did not have any utilities so police tried to make several attempts to contact him via a P.A. system. All attempts by P.A. were unsuccessful. The next step, a bag phone for Kirk and hostage negotiators to communicate was placed on his front stoop. Sgt. Booker says Kirk took the phone.

In the middle of the fifth hour at around 1 p.m., Boone County Sheriff Duane Wirth, a family acquaintance is said to be a key player in getting Kirk to surrender. As Kirk walked to the police paddy wagon about 30 to 40 officers involved were pleased with the outcome. Rockford Police Chief Steve Pugh says, “Kirk was calm when he came out and that surrendering is the best way to end the situation.”

The bomb squad did search the house but found no further incriminating evidence. Neighbors were finally allowed home after about seven hours.


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