Police Release Name of Standoff Suspect
By FALLS CHURCH TIMES STAFF
June 27, 2012
Hillwood Avenue has reopened to traffic and police have released the name of the man who fired gunshots and refused to exit the house in Hillwood’s 600 block, just east of Cherry Street.
James Vincent Rackowski, 57, is expected to be charged with discharging a firearm inside a building. He held police at bay for more than 24 hours before officers used a Taser, which incapacitated him as he came down a stairs at around 9 pm Tuesday, officials said.
Police and city officials say the incident began Monday afternoon around 4 when police received a call about a domestic disturbance. Arriving at the home, they were met by a woman who told them that her brother, Mr. Rackowski, had doused himself with gasoline and that he was going to set himself and the house on fire. She also said that her father, who is the homeowner, was in the house as well, a City statement said.
Officers approached the house to remove the father, but were threatened by Mr. Rackowski, who told them not to come closer and displayed a handgun. One officer distracted the subject with conversation and others successfully removed the father from the home, officials said.
The officers who had entered the house reported it smelled strongly of gasoline. Police attempted to talk to Mr. Rackowski, and at least three gunshots were heard coming from the house, officials said, but no one was hurt.
Police tried to negotiate a surrender, and used pepper spray and other chemicals. They also sent a recorded message from his family over a loudspeaker in an effort to get him to surrender.
When he came down the stairs around 9 pm Tuesday, the Taser was used and Mr. Rackowski was taken into custody.
Although officials have not released the exact address of the house in which Mr. Rackowski was holed up, it appears to be 603 Hillwood, which city records show is owned by the Henry and Helen Rackowski trust. The family has owned the 3,100 square foot home since 1959, records show.
By Stephen Siegel
June 27, 2012