911 calls released from hostage, chase incident in Wilmington

911 calls released from hostage, chase incident in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - 911 calls and radio traffic released Tuesday night show the tense situation that unfolded during a reported hostage situation and chase that wound through parts of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

On the 911 call, a man who identifies himself as Jairo Checo is heard telling dispatchers he plans to kill his family members.

"I'm driving around with my wife and my two little kids, one-year-old twins," says the caller. "I have a gun and I'm going to kill them."

Throughout the call the dispatch operator is heard asking Checo to pull over.

"I'm going to shoot an officer if they approach me," Checo says later in the call, as you hear a female's voice in the background.

According to police, Checo told the dispatcher his wife had an affair with a WPD officer.

In the call, Checo is heard relaying nearly every move, including driving over the speed limit and getting out of the car to check his tag number and check for a gun.

The dispatcher repeatedly asks Checo to stop so officers can help him. But Checo says he'll only do that if he can talk to a certain officer, whose name is removed from the 911 call.

The chase goes on for more than an hour. New Hanover County officials also released radio traffic from the incident, where you can hear an officer trailing Checo during the chase relaying their location. At the one-hour mark, Checo is near the Wilmington Police Department when an officer is heard talking about ways to end the incident.

"Okay, if he ends up stopping, the majority of us will get behind him," the unidentified officer says. "Somebody with some long guns try to set up an "L" on him. Make sure we're just on one side of the "L", you know what I'm saying?"

About 90 seconds later, as Checo turns on the road in front of WPD headquarters, the officer relays orders and sends a warning to personnel inside the building.

"Alright just give him plenty of room, we're not doing an assault on the vehicle just yet," the officer says over the radio. "He's going to be stopping at the gate at the back entrance (to WPD). Everybody at the station make sure the civilians and everybody else are clear from the back of the building!"

Less than 60 seconds later, the last audio is heard. It is difficult to make out the exact wording, but contains what sounds like screaming. The last nine seconds are silence.

Hours before the tapes were released, the Wilmington Police Department released additional details about the incident. During a 5 p.m. news conference, Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said the incident began when 34-year-old Checo called 911 around 5:40 a.m. and told dispatchers that he had a gun and kidnapped his wife and children and threatened to kill them.

According to Evangelous, Checo believed his wife was having an affair with a Wilmington police officer. Evangelous said that officer is on active duty, but refused to name them. The officer was on duty when the pursuit started, but officials pulled the officer from the chase soon afterward.

During the pursuit, Evangelous said Checo told dispatchers he was loading his gun and asked, "Which one he should shoot first?" A few minutes later, Checo told dispatchers that "the babies were dead" and his wife was helping them.

Around 6:50 a.m., Checo told authorities that he was going to shoot the police officer he believed was having an affair with his wife.

Checo pulled into a driveway leading to the rear parking lot of the Wilmington Police Headquarters and followed civilian personnel through the rear gate. Evangelous said Checo was a former employee and was familiar with the entry and exit protocols. Checo was employed by the Wilmington Police Department from July 2, 2007 until November 1, 2007 as a Cadet in the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Evangelous says Checo struck Sgt. Matt Ingram's police cruiser with his vehicle and then stopped. Sgt. Ingram fired three shots missing Checo and his vehicle. Checo exited his car and moved in an "aggressive manner" towards officers. Evangelous says officers did not see a weapon on Checo, so they deployed tasers.

Checo was then taken into custody. Officers found Checo's wife and children unharmed in the backseat of his vehicle.

Checo is facing numerous charges in New Hanover and Brunswick counties. These charges include first-degree kidnapping, assault by strangulation, domestic assault on a female, misdemeanor child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement official, felony speeding to elude arrest, and first-degree trespassing. Checo is currently in the New Hanover County Jail under a $500,000 bond.

Sgt. Matt Ingram was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Evangelous said there's also an investigation into whether the unnamed officer was having an affair with Checo's wife. That officer could face disciplinary action if the allegations are found to be true.

Evangelous asked the SBI to look into the incident, but they declined saying it did not meet their protocols.

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