May 26 • 04:26 AM

More details emerge

Capac chief's condition improving, Suspect hospitalized, pretrial delayed

Sheriff Dan Lane addresses crowd at last Tuesday’s community information meeting regarding the April 16 shooting in Capac that injured two police officers, Chief Raymond Hawks and Deputy Tim O’Boyle. photo by Maria Brown.

May 07, 2008
CAPAC — Law enforcement and school officials acknowledge things could have gone better in the aftermath of the April 16 shooting that seriously injured Chief Raymond Hawks.

Amidst a school lockdown, Supt. Jerry Jennex said the district was plagued by communication problems. Sheriff Dan Lane acknowledged they didn't find the alleged shooter, Don Burke, where they expected to. These and other issues were hashed out at a community information meeting last Tuesday, April 29, at Capac High School, but overall, attendees lauded everyone for their quick thinking in the aftermath of the incident.

"Time stood still for a while," Jennex said of coordinating the lockdown.

The school's emergency plan was complicated by the fact that middle schoolers were already aboard buses when the lockdown was called for, he said. They were eventually moved to the bus garage to wait.

On top of that dilemma, Jennex said, administrators found their cell phones weren't reliable due to the sudden call volume.

"We learned a lot from this incident," Jennex said, adding that they'll continue to study it and related school policy including parent notification.

Lane detailed the sheriff's department response to the scene and subsequent hunt for Burke who had not retreated into his home as police first believed. He was eventually detained at Mike Pirrone Produce where he'd been hiding in a truck.

"I realize ten hours seemed like a long time to you," Lane said of the time elapsed between the shooting and Burke's arrest.

"Statistics show that 90 percent of the time (a shooter) will retreat to their most comfortable spot."

He said a total lockdown of the village would have been "monumental." Instead, several perimeters were established and uniformed and plain clothes officers were roaming the streets with a photo of Burke.

Burke suffered a heart attack enroute to jail and eventually underwent a triple bypass, Lane said. He was released prior to his arraignment, which was scheduled for Tues., May 6, but has since re-entered the hospital.

Jeanette Yaroch, a registered nurse and Hawks' niece, gave an update on the police chief's condition, cautioning that his recovery could be lengthy. Putting him on a ventilator is a common practice when a person suffers damage to multiple organs, she said. The gunshot injured Hawks' liver and lung and nicked his gall bladder and kidney. His gallbladder has since been removed.

"(He) will have a lot of homework to do," Yaroch said. "Please continue to pray for him."

More recently, family and friends report that Hawks is responsive and showing signs of emerging from a medically-induced coma. He remains on a ventilator listed in serious condition.

Prosecutor Mike Wendling said Burke's case would be handled competently.

"We hope the community has confidence in our department," Wendling said, adding that any potential witnesses should contact police if they haven't already been interviewed by police.

The citizens who rushed to Hawks' aid were recognized along with some of his family members also in attendance.

Burke also took aim at Sheriff's Deputy Tim O'Boyle who was grazed in the head by a bullet and tow truck driver Mike Thorpe, who was not injured.

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