Bangor standoff ends with arrest
By MARY WESTON - Staff Writer
Posted: 02/10/2010 09:30:00 PM PST
BANGOR -- A 26-hour standoff ended at 3:32 p.m. Wednesday when John Hickey walked down a tent breezeway between two mobile homes on Grimy Gulch Road and was arrested, after chemical agents were shot into the residence.
Butte County Sheriff's Office Lt. Al Smith said Hickey walked out with a cane after police shot the round of gas into the residence.
Since 1 p.m. Tuesday, Hickey had been holed up with his wife and two children at the residence west of Bangor, about 12 miles east of Highway 70.
Hickey's standoff started when sheriff deputies attempted to serve a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms, prohibited due to a domestic violence restraining order against him.
"He said, 'If you want a standoff, you've got it,'" Smith said on Tuesday.
Hickey also threatened officers with a handgun and said officers wouldn't make it home to their families.
The Butte County SWAT team and crisis negotiations team responded, but during negotiations, Hickey refused to surrender.
Tuesday evening, Hickey's 68-year-old mother, Edna Rubin, came out to feed the horses. Officers handcuffed her and put her in an ambulance, according to her boyfriend, Ken Dugrosse.
Rubin and Dugrosse were taken off the property in an ambulance, and they went to his house in Oroville.
Meanwhile, inside the mobile home, Hickey continued to threaten law enforcement outside. At 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, he fired numerous shots in an unknown direction, according to police.
At 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Hickey's wife Kimberly and a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl came out of the residence.
"They came out on their own volition," Smith said. "We didn't ask them to come out."
When asked if the children had been upset, Sheriff Sgt. Jason Hail replied, "Upset? I think they were relieved to get out of there. They had been scared."
Until that time, law enforcement hadn't had contact with Hickey since 3 a.m. Wednesday when the SWAT team deployed chemical agents into the residence.
Hickey responded with heavy gunfire, according to a press release, hitting a ballistic shield in front of one officer's face. Officers fired back. After that the residence was silent.
About 1 p.m. Wednesday, Smith said they didn't know if Hickey and his wife had been injured, if they were dead or if they went to sleep.
After the wife and kids came out, the SWAT team put the second round of chemical agents inside the residence at 3:25 p.m., Smith said. Hickey came out shortly after.
Smith said they had been able to get closer to the residence Wednesday and put the agent directly into the mobile home.
After Hickey was arrested, he was taken to the command center on Pleasant Grove Lane, about a quarter of a mile off LaPorte Road. After that, he would go to Oroville Hospital for evaluation, Smith said.
Then Hickey would be taken to Butte County Jail, if all went as planned. Charges sought by the sheriff's office include several counts of assault with a deadly weapon; possession of a firearm by a prohibited person; threatening a public officer; and brandishing a firearm in a rude, angry or threatening manner.
The wife and two children were taken to the District Attorney's Office for debriefing.
The standoff ended without anyone being injured, except for Hickey and some officers breathing the chemical agent.
Ken Dugrosse, Hickey's mother's boyfriend, said Hickey changed last year after his kids accused him of abusing them, and his 10 children were taken by Child Protective Services.
"After that he went off the deep end," Dugrosse said.
Dugrosse said Hickey went through anger management classes, but CPS still didn't return the kids.
Dugrosse said he had never seen Hickey abuse the children, but they had been arguing about the kids' activities.
Smith estimated 100 people responded to the incident, including personnel from the Chico Police Department and its SWAT team, the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire-Butte County, the Redding Police Department and local paramedics.