Swansea standoff ends; suspect faces home invasion charge

Belleville News-DemocratMay 16, 2013 

A man accused of breaking into a Belleville house where his ex-girlfriend was staying, beating her and then fleeing to his home in Swansea was arrested after a nearly five-hour standoff on Thursday.

Dougford Butler III, 29, of the 100 block of Brackett Street in Swansea, surrendered to police about 11:30 a.m. as a Special Weapon and Tactics team was on the verge of coming into the duplex where he lives. A second male in the house with Butler also was taken into custody. Police said he was interviewed and then released.

Belleville Police Department Detective Mark Heffernan said police were in contact with the suspect throughout the morning via phone. Butler announced his surrender and came out peacefully.

"That's a question for Mr. Butler," Heffernan said when asked why the suspect held out for so long and what eventually caused him to surrender. "But we're pleased with the outcome any time something like this can come to an end without someone getting hurt."

The standoff left neighbors nervous.

As police cars blocked a perimeter a half block in each direction from the house, an ambulance idled at the end of Brackett Street.

One neighbor said she looked out her window Thursday morning to see a police car parked sideways in the street with its lights on. She went outside and heard officers over a bullhorn tell the suspect repeatedly that he was surrounded and to give himself up.

The tension was raised when an olive green armored vehicle arrived on the scene. Officers in tactical gear met on Second Street behind the red brick duplex before several of them moved in formation through the back yard to flank the building while the armored vehicle was driven into the front yard near the door.

The concerned neighbor approached a Swansea police officer as the SWAT team prepared to go inside and he shooed her away.

"Ma'am, you probably better go back inside your house," the officer said.

The victim of the home invasion, was hospitalized Thursday morning with injuries to her face. Heffernan said they were not believed to be life threatening and that he thought she might be released from the hospital. She was staying with a friend on Lake Shore Drive in Belleville.

Heffernan said Butler and the woman have a history of domestic violence issues.

After the two men were taken away, a boom was heard from inside the house and white smoke wafted down the street.

Heffernan said a flash-bang device was used to subdue three aggressive dogs in Butler's home.

Butler, according to St. Clair County records, has a history of scrapes with the law. In addition to the pending home invasion charge and any other charges that may come from that case, he has a pending charge of driving under the influence that was filed against him Dec. 26.

He was convicted in 2008 of possession of more than 2.5 grams of cannabis, in 2007 of resisting a police officer, in 2006 of attempting to flee from a police officer and in 2004 of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

In Madison County, he was convicted in 2009 of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and in 2006 of fleeing and eluding a police officer.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 618-239-2626.

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