Gary officers tell jury about storming apartment where Isom, bodies were found
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent January 11, 2013 9:02PM
Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 13, 2013 6:08AM
When Gary SWAT officers tried to enter an apartment where gunfire had erupted four hours earlier, they couldn’t get inside because a body blocked the back door.
Former Gary officer Albert Amptmeyer, who led the entry team into an apartment at 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Lake Shore Dunes complex in Miller, said a body blocked the door, forcing the SWAT team to regroup and ram the front door.
Friday’s testimony marked the fifth day of evidence in the capital murder trial of Kevin Charles Isom, 47, who is charged in the 2007 shooting deaths of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13. Isom also is charged with three counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Amptmeyer said Isom, who was on the floor near the foot of a bed with his back and head slouched against the wall, failed to respond to commands to show his hands and began reaching for something. After an unsuccessful attempt to use a stun gun, Amptmeyer said Isom was flailing his arms and reaching under the bed. Isom had no apparent injuries to his face and there was no blood in the area, Amptmeyer said.
“I decided to go hands-on and physically try to restrain him,” Amptmeyer said, and a wrestling match ensued in which Isom continued to resist. Amptmeyer, a muscular 6-foot, 235-pound officer, said he struck Isom in the face as hard as he could with the heel of his palm. The physical force was warranted, he said. “I was very scared in light of the fact that we already had three heavily damaged bodies and one person with no injuries who was violently resisting and searching in an area that I could not see,” he said.
After Isom was subdued and lifted from the floor, a pistol fell from his waistband. Officers removed Isom’s pants, and another pistol was discovered nearby.
Gary police Patrolman LaRia Crews, a crisis negotiator, said her repeated attempts to make contact with Isom inside the apartment failed. She said she used a bullhorn, the “squawk box” on a police car and numerous calls to phone numbers obtained from Isom’s mother and Cassandra Isom’s sister to communicate with Isom.