ATLANTIC CITY — Police arrested two fugitives from Delaware at a home on Georgia Avenue on Wednesday, including a man who remained barricaded in the building for hours and only came out after lengthy negotiations, authorities said.
At 7:37 a.m., officers responded to the 100 block of North Georgia Avenue to assist the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force, which was attempting to arrest Rahiem Jackson, 23, and Maya Hairston, 24, both of Dover, police said in a news release. Jackson was wanted on a weapons offense, and Hairston was wanted on charges stemming from a vehicle pursuit she was involved in with law enforcement.
Jackson and Hairston refused commands to exit the residence as police officers, SWAT team members, the city’s bomb squad and members of the Marshal’s Service waited outside.
Police closed off the 100 block of North Georgia Avenue about 8 a.m. Access to the Atlantic City Expressway’s Brigantine Connector and other nearby roads was restricted as authorities worked to get the suspects to surrender. On social media, police advised the public to avoid the area and asked residents to remain inside their homes. An impromptu base of operations was established near Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern.
After about two hours of negotiation, Hairston surrendered and was taken into custody. Negotiators attempted to engage Jackson for several more hours, and about 1:15 p.m., SWAT members entered the residence, where Jackson was found hiding underneath a sink, police said. He too was taken into custody.
Both were charged with being fugitives from justice and taken to the Atlantic County jail, awaiting extradition to Delaware.
Two men who lived in the property in the 100 block of North Georgia said they were awakened by police entering the building. The men said most of the occupants exited the home with their hands up as instructed, but the two who were eventually arrested remained inside, which started the standoff with law enforcement.
“I came outside (my room) because (the police) were talking to him and I got worried,” one of the men said in reference to the one he was standing next to. “Then I get grabbed by some (officer). They’re passing me through the line (of officers).”
The two men were questioned and detained for about an hour before being let go, they said.
Drones from the Fire Department were also deployed. Fire Chief Scott Evans said the drones were used to survey the area and help police develop strategies to enter the home.
“They were particularly helpful with this building, because this building sat in the middle of three other buildings and a courtyard,” Evans said. “This building sat in the middle of the block. It was surrounded by buildings.”
The building does not let out onto the street like others on the block. The front door is down an alley between residences.
Residents from other homes on the block, though advised to remain inside, came out to watch the events unfold.
After Hairston was in custody, police made several attempts to enter the home and convince Jackson to surrender. Witnesses said police also cast several objects into the home through the windows, and described an audible “bang.” Onlookers were kept several hundred feet away from the scene by police tape.
On two occasions, officers equipped with riot gear retreated from the home after a few minutes. More loud bangs were heard coming from the home during the second attempt.
About 1:10 p.m., two officers with assault rifles and a third with a protective shield entered the building, exiting shortly after with Jackson in handcuffs.
Officers continued searching the home after Jackson was placed in the back of a squad car. Once the police tape was removed from the street, a ladder company from the Fire Department arrived to ventilate the home after extensive tear gas use, Evans said.
Exceptional Medical Transport of Atlantic City and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office assisted.
“The teamwork displayed by all of the first responders was incredible,” interim Officer-in-Charge James Sarkos said in a statement. “Two dangerous fugitives were removed from the streets without any injuries to law enforcement or the suspects. This is a great example of the ongoing working relationships and collaborations the ACPD has with all of our public safety partners.”
Staff Writer John Russo contributed to this report.
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