Police identify gunman killed in shootout

Charles Jennings

The man shot and killed in a standoff with Syracuse Police has a record of 25 prior arrests, and had been paroled after doing time on drug charges on October 15th. Police Chief Gary Miguel says 32 year old Charles Jennings was living at 429 Wilkinson Street, just a block from the home invasion and shootout, and that he'd been arrested in the past for robbery, weapons charges and drugs.Police say that on Sunday night, Jennings broke into an upstairs apartment on North Geddes Street, and pistol whipped three residents--Yemeni natives--in a search for money. Two of the men managed to get to the back apartment, where relatives called 9 - 1 - 1. Police got to the block about 10pm , saw the suspect with a handgun, and gunfire was exchanged. A short time later as the suspect was trying to get away, there was another exchange of gunfire.

As a command post was set up at the nearby Hess Gas Station and swat teams were brought in, six of the people from the apartment were able to get out: a Sheriff Department armored personnel vehicle was brought in to help them get away--they were taken out in handcuffs, which is standard procedure, says Chief Miguel, until the incident was sorted out.The resident who had hidden in the apartment heard police bullhorn messages to the gunman, apparently went out and saw him, slumped in the stairwell, and called police, who at about 3am went into the building and found him dead, with several gunshot wounds. Jennings' body was brought out about 7:30am, and investigators have spent the day in the block between Wilkinson and Richmond, recreating the incident and looking for spent bullets.They say Jennings had a .357 magnum with 5 spent rounds. Chief Miguel says 3 officers were shooting, and 15 to 20 rounds were fired. No officers were injured, and Miguel says the pistol-whipped victims injuries are also minor. He also says the quick police response probably saved the life of the hostage who remained in the apartment.Neighbors had been notified by 911 to stay in homes, and police notified some to evacuate, though at least one neighbor claims she never got notified until well after the shooting. Miguel says the first priority was to secure the crime scene and to ensure police safety. As the investigation continues, the police action will be turned over to a grand jury for review, and how the whole incident was handled will also be reviewed by the Syracuse Police, Onondaga Sheriffs, and other supporting agencies.