UPDATE: Suspect in 10 hour SWAT situation in custody
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Alexander Petrochko, the suspect at the center of 10 hour SWAT situation is now in custody.
He had missing since sometime early Thursday morning when police thought he was in a house on Tremont Street.
Chattanooga police and SWAT surrounded a home at 315 Tremont Street for almost 10 hours Thursday morning. But when they finally entered the home, there was no one inside.
The suspect was no where to be found.
Police were first called to the two story North Chattanooga home at 11:30 Wednesday night to a domestic assault call. Police say they found the victim outside the home at which point Petrochko, armed with a rifle and scope, fled into the home.
When police believed the suspect to be armed and barricaded in the home, they called the SWAT team for backup. Surrounding homes were evacuated as a precaution.
One neighbor told Channel 3 he was evacuated at 1 a.m. He returned to the scene at 5 a.m. with his two young children wanting to know when he could get back to his home to get his kids ready for school.
Throughout the night, the SWAT team shot tear gas bombs into the home's windows and even deployed a robot in the home to get a sense of the layout.
Negotiators also used a megaphone to communicate with the suspect they believed to be inside. Repeatedly, the negotiator said: "Alex, answer the phone. Turn on the light. Help us help you. We're not leaving until we know you're alright."
After about nine hours, SWAT entered the house, which was empty.
"Obviously they use the hostage negotiation team to try and get him out of the house before any kind of force is used," said Officer Tim McFarland. "I believe they had discovered that he was no longer in therebut they still have to carry out proper procedure to ensure there is no one else in there, no other threats."
"It's crazy. I love the North Shore, it's a little weird but you don't think you'd ever wake up to a lot of blue lights," said neighbor Jensen Hart. "I don't know the details. I don't know the circumstances surrounding itbut I hope everybody comes home safe."
A warrant has been issued for Petrochko on the domestic assault charge.
Police tell Channel 3 that Petrochko has contacted an attorney, and will be charged with simple assault (domestic).