No Charges Will Be Pressed Against Mark Fitch for Babette Court Episode
Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson said no criminal charges will be filed against Mark Fitch, the man behind a phony standoff situation in Oak Forest last week.
Updated April 29, 11:25 a.m.
Mark Fitch, the man who prompted the massive emergency police response on Babette Court last week in Oak Forest, will not face any criminal charges.
"There was no criminal act committed," said Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson. "There's nothing for us to charge him for."
Fitch, 44, was taken into custody Thursday, April 21, after a standoff situation unfolded that night involving about 100 police officers and emergency staff from Oak Forest and 20 surrounding suburbs. The original call came into police as a man reportedly intoxicated, threatening harm to himself and others, with firearms in his possession.
After five hours of attempts at contact with Fitch and negotiations by phone, police blasted the house at 5544 Babette Court with tear gas and stormed in, but Fitch was not inside. It was discovered he was speaking with police via a cell phone, police said. Just before midnight, he was found at Beggars Pizza on Cicero Avenue, police said. Anderson was unclear what was said to negotiators, but did confirm that Fitch did not say he was not inside the house.
"They assumed he was in the house, he did not indicate he wasn't in the house," Anderson said. "There was no direct statement, nothing there that indicated he was bluffing."
The call originally came in from a friend, who was concerned that Fitch would harm himself or others. Anderson called it a suicide check, or hostage check.
About a dozen neighbors were evacuated from their homes in the early evening as police from throughout the south suburbs descended on the neighborhood. Units from Hazel Crest, Homewood, Tinley Park, Chicago Heights and nearby areas responded. Emergency vehicles lined Central Avenue on both sides.
While estimates of the overall cost to the city came in at roughly $55,000, Anderson said the cost to the police department was $4,000.
"My initial reaction is, there's nothing for us to go after him for," Anderson said.
That night Mayor Hank Kuspa, who was on the scene in the command center, called the hostage standoff a "hoax." But Deputy Police Chief David DeMarco the next day said he would not call the situation a "hoax."
After his arrest, Fitch was taken to Palos Community Hospital for evaluation.