7 rescued after NY home invasion; suspect killed

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2009 4:23 PM

Police rescued seven people from an apartment building after exchanging gunfire in an overnight standoff with an armed intruder who was later found dead, apparently killed by officers' bullets.

Police identified the suspect Monday as Charles Jennings, a 32-year-old Syracuse man who was released from prison on parole last month after serving time for a drug conviction.

Authorities believe shots fired by officers killed Jennings, Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel said Monday.

Jennings broke into a second-floor apartment late Sunday above a neighborhood grocery store on a block lined with vacant buildings and older homes, Miguel said.

Jennings pistol-whipped three people inside after demanding money from them, Miguel said. The men told investigators they didn't know Jennings, and police said they don't know why they were targeted.

At some point, two of the men managed to escape to an apartment across the hall and call police.

Jennings had a .357 magnum and fired five shots from an upper window and a lower doorway after officers arrived, Miguel said. A police officer was the first to fire after seeing Jennings point his handgun at another officer. In all, three officers fired 15 to 20 rounds, the chief said.

Police had no communication with Jennings after that, he said.

Around midnight, police drove an armored vehicle to the back of the apartment building, where SWAT officers helped two victims and four people escape from the apartment across the hall.

The other victim hid in the attic and was rescued from the roof just after 3 a.m. He told police that he had seen the gunman slumped over in the first-floor stairwell, not moving.

SWAT officers entered the apartment building with weapons drawn about 4 a.m. to find Jennings, pistol in hand, dead in a stairwell near a side door.

The three victims were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with head injuries not considered life threatening.

Jennings had been arrested more than two dozen times over the years for crimes involving robbery, burglary, weapons and drugs, police said.