CHAMPAIGN — An accused rapist was forced out of his apartment with chemicals Tuesday afternoon after about a four-hour standoff with police that ended without any serious injuries.
Dozens of residents watched and listened as a police negotiator used a megaphone to repeatedly exhort Robert Perry, 30, to come out of his residence in the Countrybrook Apartments complex in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue.
He had barricaded himself inside when police showed up at 10:18 a.m. for a report of a domestic disturbance.
Champaign police spokesman Tom Yelich said officers arrived shortly after the call to find the woman who needed help had gotten out of the apartment, apparently unhurt, but that Perry had barricaded himself inside.
They quickly figured out Perry was wanted on outstanding warrants, one of which involved him allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in that same complex earlier this year. Trained negotiators and SWAT officers were then summoned.
“Robert Perry. This is the Champaign police. We cannot leave. We don’t want anyone to be harmed. We want to resolve this peacefully,” an officer said loud enough for everyone present to hear. “Robert, exit the apartment with your hands up and empty. Robert, we need you to make a good decision here. We want to make sure everyone is safe.”
Nearby, adults and children endured the heat to watch the spectacle unfold for hours, some even taking to Facebook Live to stream the activity of SWAT officers and trained negotiators who were trying to coax Perry to come out on his own.
Officers had sent a robot outfitted with a camera up a couple of stairs to get a look inside Perry’s apartment before deciding how to proceed.
When Perry refused to come out, police ultimately decided to use “chemical munitions” to force him out. After the substance was tossed in his home, Perry came out about 2:40 p.m. and was taken into custody, and no one else was injured.
On Friday, Champaign County Judge Adam Dill had issued a warrant with a $1 million bond for Perry after he was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon and two counts of residential burglary.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink said the charges stemmed from a Jan. 26 attack on a woman who also was living in the apartment complex.
About 10:20 p.m. that Tuesday, the woman called 911 and a friend to say there was a man in her home. When officers arrived, they saw a man going out the woman’s back door.
Appearing to notice the officers, the intruder dropped the woman’s purse, ran back into the apartment and then exited through the front door.
Officers saw him running away but were unable to catch him. Police found a steak knife in his path of flight.
The woman told police she was home with her toddler son and in bed when she heard someone in her apartment and called for help.
The suspect, whom police said they later identified through DNA as Perry, entered her bedroom with a mask on and a knife in his hand. He told the woman to get off the phone then took it from her.
He then ordered her to pull her pants down, threatening to stab her if she didn’t comply. The woman did so, and Perry sexually assaulted her in various ways then ordered her to take a shower.
The woman went into the bathroom and turned on the water but did not get under it, knowing she wanted to preserve possible evidence.
She told police what the attacker looked like and that she did not know him.
Early last week, the Illinois State Crime Lab informed Champaign police that the DNA taken from the woman matched Perry. Interviewed again, the woman said she did not know him and to her knowledge had never met him.
Perry was also wanted on a second warrant for robbery and domestic battery that allegedly happened Feb. 6 in Champaign.
Alferink said Perry has prior convictions from Cook County in 2008 for aggravated battery and one from Indiana in 2020 for possession of a firearm by a serious felon.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story included a picture of a man who was not the one arrested in the incident. It was removed shortly after publication.