Stand-off ends peacefully


Ann Gill

A few dozen people gathered on the corner of South Broadway and Elm Street watching the movements of local law enforcement who were assembled in a driveway several feet away, some with their guns drawn.

The spectators looked on as officers from the Coal City Police Department, Grundy County Sheriff’s Office and the recently formed Grundy County Pro-Act Unit attempted to draw a man from his home, but he refused to vacate the residence at 55 E. Elm St.

James Hammen, 46, kept police at bay for close to four hours on Monday afternoon.

Every so often Hammen would appear in a west facing second floor window and he could be seen moving about the home.

The incident began when officers were called to the residence for a domestic disturbance at 1:33 p.m.

Coal City Police Sgt. Tom Logan reports when officers arrived they spoke with 50-year-old Sheri Tucker, who claimed to be Hammen’s ex-girlfriend. She advised she went to the home to retrieve a cellular phone, and when she make contact with Hammen he took another phone she had in her hand and threw it at her.

Tucker further told police Hammen struck her on the left side of the face with his right hand and the responding officer noted there was observed redness and scraping on the victim.

At that time police made contact with Hammen and asked him to come outside to speak with them about the incident, but refused and shouted obscenities toward the officers and female victim.

“Hammen continued to show aggressive behavior throwing numerous household items from the windows. Hammen then threw out a sword and an ax toward law enforcement,” Logan stated in a news release issued this morning [Tuesday, April 27].

Hammen, the sergeant said, made verbal threats towards officers on scene and was observed throwing a door knob at Tucker’s vehicle. Tucker and the vehicle were relocated from the scene to the police station.

Police observed Hammen, who was alone, begin to fortify himself inside the home. Logan reports he observed him load a table and chairs up against a window, and noted cinder blocks placed against the south entry door and the north entrance was also heavily barricaded.

At this point, officers backed away for safety while maintaining a perimeter around the residence.

Lines of communication remained open with Hammen although cooperation was unsuccessful.

Logan, Coal City Police Chief Tom Best and representatives of the Pro-Act Unit all were in contact with Hammen, family members were even called in to try and talk him out of the home.
When those lines of communication provided no end to the standoff and it was clear he was barricaded in the home, Coal City Police made the call to bring in the Will County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team.

It was around 5 p.m. when members of the SWAT Team began assembling and within minutes of them pulling up in front of Hammen’s home with their armored vehicle word came that he was in custody.

Police report he peacefully exited the south side of his residence and was taken into custody. He was transported to the Grundy County Jail.

Hammen has been charged with domestic battery, unlawful violation of an order of protection and criminal damage to property all involving the ex-girlfriend, and obstructing a peace officer and aggravated assault stemming from his actions on Monday afternoon.

Outside of the female victim, no other injuries were reported.

Additional information regarding Monday's police activity will appear in this week's print edition, available on newsstands Wednesday, April 28.