PRINCETON, Illinois - The usually quiet town of Princeton, Illinois, east of the Quad Cities saw the SWAT team and snipers brought in to end an armed police standoff Friday morning.
Neighbors say they were shocked to be wakened by police.
Princeton resident Michelle Morris tells KWQC-TV 6, "My oldest she's twenty and she woke me up and said there are swat guys in our garage, and I jumped out of bed. The swat guys came upstairs and actually used my middle daughter's room to get a good view. And they told us to stay in the basement or garage to keep cover"
Police say they got a call around 4 a.m. on Friday reporting a man pointing a gun at someone else.
Princeton Chief of Police Tom Kammerer says the the gunman barricaded himself in his home for nine hours as police negotiated with him, state police, via telephone."
But what appeared to just be a standoff took a turn.
"Shortly you see white smoke white and then it's turning dark," says Morris.
Police Chief Tom Kammerer says the smoke started after the over nine hours of negotiation. "With the wind the flames kicked up pretty quick and he refused to come out," added Kammerer.
Michelle says after the fire started it was quiet for a while. "Then we saw his face pop up for a minute and he was trying to get air and they kept telling him come out to jump with their bull horn and told him get out your house is on fire. I guess he was yelling at them and throwing books and doing this and trying to get them to shoot him in the head," says Morris.
The fire had witnesses concerned that maybe he couldn't get out on his own.
"Ultimately we got him to come out the front door and he even resisted arrest at that point," says Chief Kammerer.
Right now he's being treated for smoke inhalation and is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. But the Princeton Police Chief says they're still conducting their investigation and there may be further charges related to the fire, but it will be a few weeks before law enforcement can definitively say how the fire started and whether the fire was started intentionally or accidentally.
Story by KWQC-TV 6 Reporter Sarah Jones.