UPDATE: Weekend Dubuque standoff suspect identified - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Weekend Dubuque standoff suspect identified

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A police standoff in Dubuque became an ordeal spanning more than eight hours.

It started a little after 5:30 p.m. Saturday and wrapped up shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday.

The standoff happened between Dubuque police officers and a man with five outstanding arrest warrants.

Dubuque police identified the man Monday afternoon as 22-year-old Blaine Wright, of Dubuque. The media release said police wanted him as an escapee from the Elm Street Correctional Facility. He also had four probation warrants.

A media release from early Sunday morning said police went to arrest Wright Saturday evening at a duplex in the 300 block of Kaufmann Avenue. When Wright saw the officer at the front door, he attempted to escape the building. When he saw a police officer at the back of the house, however, he returned inside, where he holed up and refused to surrender to the officers outside.

Police officers then secured the residence and obtained a search warrant.

The Police Department tried using a negotiation team to coax the man into surrendering. Attempts to establish contact with Wright went on for nearly four hours unsuccessfully.

Intermittently throughout the night, a negotiator would spend several minutes calling to the man on a bullhorn, asking, "Blaine, open the window. Talk to us."

By that point, officials had stopped the flow of traffic along a several-block stretch of Kaufmann and were not allowing civilians in or out.

"If somebody were to discharge a weapon in the city, it doesn't just go, you know, 100 feet and drop to the ground," Dubuque police chief Mark Dalsing said Monday. "It can go for blocks and even miles, depending on the caliber, so any time there's a possibility of weapons being involved, we want to make it as secure an area as possible for the citizens."

Neighbors who live on the street and were trying to watch the scene unfold or even travel to work were told to return to their houses.

Sandy LuGrain lives one home away from the duplex in which Wright barricaded himself.

She said police, "told me to go back in my door and shut my door. It's safer inside than out."

Neighbors who were outside the blockade when police started enforcing it and wanted to return home were not allowed onto their street.

Officials had received information Wright might have access to weapons, so the department's Tactical Entry Team, like a SWAT team, arrived on the scene.

"In this case, it was an individual that was wanted, an escapee from a correctional facility, at least intelligence about weapons, so it was decided it should be escalated to include the tactical response team," Dalsing said.

Team members surrounded the house with shields up and weapons drawn.

"Well, they had their guns out, of course, but they had big shields in front of them," LuGrain said, who was watching the scene unfold from her front porch and window.

Right before midnight, one negotiator told Wright this was his, "last chance," and the Tactical Entry Team will be coming in if he doesn't cooperate.

Team members deployed tear gas in the house shortly before midnight, but Wright still didn't surrender.

"Then we heard, 'pop, pop, pop,' and I think that was the tear gas going in, and that kind of freaked me out," LuGrain said. "I kind of moved back away from the window and grabbed my grandson, because we didn't know if it was guns or whatever."

At 11:55 p.m., two loud popping noises echoed through the valley. The sounds came from within the home. At 12:08 a.m., another loud popping noise sounded.

"The officers on scene report hearing no sounds of gunfire at any point whatsoever on the scene, so anything the neighbors would've been hearing would've been the canisters of gas as they activated," Dalsing said.

At about 12:45 a.m., Tactical Entry Team members went into the home to locate Wright, where they found him dead, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"It was a scary situation for all around, I guess, and it's a sad situation for the people involved," LuGrain said.

Some are left wondering exactly when Wright took his own life and why the tactical entry team didn't act sooner.

"Some departments might go to a tac team a little sooner, into an entry, some might go a little longer, but we want to try to use up every possible opportunity to try to get a response before we have to utilize the tac team," Dalsing said.

Around 2 a.m., police opened the road and allowed neighbors to return to their houses. An investigation continued at the house following the road re-opening.

Monday afternoon, a handful of Wright's acquaintances were at the home in the 300 block of Kaufmann Avenue and didn't want to talk about the incident.

One said, "it's very emotional, and we really don't want people gawking at the house."

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is further, independently investigating Wright's death.

As a matter of perspective, KWWL made phone calls to other local police departments. Capt. Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department said, although the response varies case by case, the department does have a tactical response team and negotiators to employ in a similar situation, where somebody who is potentially armed has barricade himself or herself in a home.

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