By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
As negotiators had hoped, Donald Rick Pruett finally wore down.
Holed up with a handgun in a bedroom of his house at 1718 Center Granview in south central Quincy for nearly 21 hours, the 52-year-old man finally gave up around 11 a.m. Tuesday. He was taken into custody without incident and transported to Blessing Hospital for mental evaluations. He will eventually be booked into the Adams County Jail.
"It was a culmination of all of the elements that had been getting to him," Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said. "He had been going all night without sleep, food, water or cigarettes. He was just ready to give himself up."
The standoff started just after 2 p.m. Monday after investigators went to Pruett's house to interview him as part of an ongoing investigation involving an allegation of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving a minor child. When the officers arrived, Pruett let them into the house, then went into a back bedroom and barricaded the door.
Police said an arrest warrant is on file for Pruett related to the investigation, but Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said he has not been formally charged. Barnard said Pruett likely will make his first court appearance either Wednesday or Thursday morning. He didn't know what kind of charges Pruett could face as the result of the standoff.
Pruett previously was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 2002, but he was not prosecuted in that case.
Members of the Quincy Police Department worked through the night Monday and early Tuesday with the goal of bringing the standoff to a peaceful conclusion. A group of four negotiators rotated in dealing with Pruett. The ability to keep people rested, Copley said, was important.
"We have enough negotiators and tactical people that we can cycle them through and give them the breaks they need to keep everyone fresh," Copley said.
By all accounts, Pruett communicated with negotiators throughout the standoff. A major breakthrough came during the overnight hours when officers were able to determine that Pruett was armed.
"There is different equipment that we use to look through windows and observe what is going on," Copley said.
On Tuesday morning, Copley said Pruett had shown some suicidal tendencies during negotiations.
Copley said a handgun was recovered after Pruett's surrender. He did not know if the gun was loaded. Copley there were other firearms in the residence, but Pruett had just one gun.
A one-block area around Pruett's ranch-style home, which is on the corner of Center Granview and South Granview, was blocked by police vehicles throughout the standoff. Activity around the house was at a minimum for most of the standoff, which started in a nasty rain/snow mixture and featured bone-chilling temperatures throughout.
Gawkers were few. Those that did come to the scene didn't stay for long because of the cold.
Since Pruett had no hostages with him, police were content to let the situation play out as long as necessary. Copley said there were snipers stationed at strategic locations in case they were needed.
"It was just tremendous work," Copley said. "It was all about getting him out safely and keeping everyone else safe. Yes, it was time-consuming, but we're talking about human lives here and everything came together well."