Neighborhood disrupted during standoff

2012-05-25T15:16:00Z 2012-05-26T00:13:41Z Neighborhood disrupted during standoffBy Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The normally peaceful neighborhood that surrounds the Prudential Executive Group building nervously watched and waited Friday as police engaged in a standoff with a gunman for seven hours.

Police set up blockades around the neighborhood, limiting access to the area.

"I was going to go to the bank, and my mom said, "Don't go out because there are police all over,'" said Jazzman Bray, who lives on nearby Roosevelt Road.

When she peeked out her home, she saw the corner swarmed with police vehicles.

Her sister Whitney already had been at work at Kmart when the incident began. It was business as usual, she said, as the retailer wasn't on lockdown.

She got home after her shift by walking through backyards of businesses.

Five hours after it began the sisters still were sitting on their front porch watching and waiting and wondering, like many of their neighbors, which of the rumors they'd been hearing throughout the day were true.

Lori Schneegas, who also lives on Roosevelt Road, said she'd been running errands when she came back home, thinking first there had been an accident at the five-point intersection.

It was first chaos, she said, then the area calmed down after police cordoned off the area, leaving Schneegas separated from her car and wondering in the afternoon if she would get to go to work.

"I've never seen anything like this, only on TV. Hopefully everyone comes out safe," she said.

James Fancher, who lives on Roosevelt Road, also was running errands.

"I pulled in, and I thought it was a bad accident. When I found out it wasn't I went into the house," he said.

"I've been hearing rumors and waiting for something to happen," Fancher said.

Christopher Gleason, duty driver and maintenance assistant at Rittenhouse Senior Living of Valparaiso, was watching the action from the back parking lot.

"We heard from the general manager and then the news spread like wild fire. They're all talking about it. It is the news of the day," he said.

The center was on lockdown during the incident, Gleason said.

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