A Chicago Ridge deputy fire chief has been placed on an indefinite administrative leave after he was charged with breaking into a neighbor's home and attacking her, officials said.
Police charge 49-year-old Gary M. Swiercz, of the 8100 block of West 168th Place in Tinley Park, with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated attempted criminal sexual assault, and residential burglary, according to a press release from Tinley Police.
A judge set bail at $150,000 for Swiercz during his bond hearing Sunday.
Swiercaz allegedly broke into his neighbor’s condominium unit early Saturday and beat her while armed with a knife, the release stated.
A struggle ensued and then the offender fled from the scene, the release said.
One neighbor across the hall heard said she heard the woman scream around 2:30 a.m.
"It's something you probably won't get out of your head for a long time. Just the fear that you heard." said the neighbor, who asked to not be identified.
Police responded to the scene about 2:35 a.m. The woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to the release.
Police who arrived at the scene found Swiercz, who matched the description of the offender, in the condominium’s parking lot, the release said.
Swiercz is a deputy chief for the Chicago Ridge Fire Department and is a former fire chief for south suburban Worth. He has been placed on indefinitely leave pending an investigation, according to a press release from the Chicago Ridge Fire Department.
"At the time Mr. Swiercz was off duty and not performing any duty in his official capacity," the release said.
Neighbors were shocked at the allegations.
"Something like that happening, you just never know when it can happen," said William Beauchamp who lives behind the victim.
"It's really disgusting, it’s sad for society to know that people that are out there are supposed to help you, you can't even trust those people," said the neighbor across the hall.