911 call released in Tinley Park attack
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org January 10, 2013 6:38PM
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:47PM
In a panicked voice, a Tinley Park woman who was beaten during a home invasion early Saturday tells a 911 dispatcher that the intruder threatened to cut her throat, smelled of liquor and tried to rape her, according to a recording of the 911 call that was obtained by ABC7 News.
The voice of the alleged attacker, a neighbor of the victim, can be heard on the 911 tape as the woman seeks his help after the attack, according to an ABC7 News report.
Gary Swiercz, 49, is charged with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated attempted criminal sexual assault and residential burglary, police said.
Swiercz retired as Chicago Ridge’s deputy fire chief after the incident and is a former Worth fire chief.
The 28-year-old woman didn’t recognize Swiercz because he wore a ski mask during the attack, and she went to his condominium for help afterward, Cook County prosecutors have said.
On the 911 call, the victim tells the dispatcher, “I was sleeping on the couch. I woke up and somebody was there. He had gotten into my apartment, my condo, and he said, ‘Don’t move or I’ll cut your (expletive) throat.’ ”
When the woman was asked if she had been sexually assaulted, she told the dispatcher, “No, I wouldn’t go with him. I was too scared.”
Swiercz is heard on the call, checking on the woman, ABC7 News reported.
“Gary, I went up to you, but you weren’t there. You were gone,” the woman says during the 911 call.
Swiercz later was arrested in the parking lot of the complex, police said.
Prosecutors sought Tuesday to have Swiercz’s $150,000 bail denied or increased after he was released from custody Monday, but a Cook County judge denied the motion. Swiercz is subject to electronic monitoring and is staying in Worth, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Swiercz broke into the woman’s condo carrying a knife, rope, zip ties, duct tape, an 8-inch sex toy and lubricant.
“If you scream or make any noise, I will cut your throat,” he told her, getting close to her face, according to the police report, obtained Thursday by the SouthtownStar. “Do you want to bleed to death?”
The woman told police that when she moved from the couch, Swiercz grabbed her arm and forced her into the kitchen before grabbing her by the face and shoving her head into a cabinet. She began to pray out loud, police said. When she finished her prayers, she began screaming for help.
Swiercz tossed her to the kitchen floor, stood near her head, and then struck her head against the tiled kitchen floor several times, police said.
She continued to scream for help and Swiercz left the kitchen in the direction of the rear of the residence, according to police. The woman ran to the second floor of the building and found Swiercz’s door unlocked, entered the place and screamed for Swiercz’s help, but he wasn’t there, police said.
A neighbor later told police he saw Swiercz exit the rear door of the apartment complex, then later walk away from the Dumpster and attempt to re-enter the condo building, dressed only in his underwear.
When police later met Swiercz in his condo, he initially said he was in his bathroom at the time of the incident, police said. When pressed again, Swiercz said he had been drinking throughout the evening and that when he entered the building, he saw the woman’s door open, according to the police report. He then entered her place “in an attempt to scare her for leaving the door open,” Swiercz told police. He said he saw that she was asleep and then she woke up and started screaming. He told police he put his hand over her mouth in an attempt to keep her quiet.
Later, he gave police permission to search his condo, and they found a handgun in his bedroom and arrested him, police said.
In a subsequent interview, police said Swiercz told them he had attended a “Goth” party in Oak Lawn earlier that night with a friend and painted his eyes black. At the party, he drank several beers and then went to an Orland Park pub where he had another four beers and then drove home alone, he told police.
Swiercz told police he changed to all black clothing and a black hat with the eyes cut out to resemble a ski mask so the woman would not see him. He also wore latex surgical gloves underneath his leather baseball gloves and told police he chose the clothing, “the darker the better,” to conceal himself from the woman.
Swiercz told police that when he approached her on the couch, she rose while fighting him and that they fell to the floor and he landed on top of her. Swiercz then fled through the building’s rear exit, he told police.
He told police he walked to his car, stripped down to his socks and underwear, and attempted to re-enter the building through a rear door, which was locked. Swiercz ran to the front of the building and pounded on the front door and rang doorbells until he was allowed back in, he told police.
Swiercz told police he then spoke with the woman and asked if she was OK. He entered his condo, removed the makeup, washed his face, and stayed there until police questioned him, Swiercz told police. He denied threatening the woman with a knife.
A police officer who responded to the building initially spotted Swiercz in the parking lot of the complex, dressed in black and walking around in circles, police said. Police said he appeared to be out of breath, his face and hair were wet with sweat, and he was disoriented. Swiercz had a small cut that was bleeding between his eyes and on the bridge of the nose, police said.
Asked what he was doing outside and why he was bleeding, Swiercz told police that his neighbor was attacked and he was running around to “look for things. ... I am a fireman and was just trying to help.”
He further stated, “I know this looks bad; I had a couple of beers and put black makeup on my face at this party.”
The woman was treated for minor injuries. She and Swiercz had no prior relationship, prosecutors said.
Swiercz is next due in court Feb. 7.