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Ex-Deputy Turned Armed Fugitive Surrenders During Earlville Standoff: Police

A former law enforcement officer who became the center of a days-long manhunt across several northern Illinois cities turned himself in Thursday morning during a standoff with police, authorities said. 

Police said Max Ambler, a former LaSalle County Sheriff's officer, was in custody just before 9 a.m. and was being transported to the Lee County Correctional Center in Dixon, Illinois.

A standoff between Ambler and LaSalle County police began just after 7 a.m. when authorities say Ambler entered a home in Earlville. Police could be seen surrounding a home in the north central Illinois town with guns drawn.

A man and a woman were inside the home at the time, but the woman was released shortly after police arrived, authorities said. 

Not long after, police say the man was allowed to the leave the home. Both were unharmed. 

Eventually, authorities said Ambler surrendered and was taken into custody.

"Things ended up I think very much as good as we could have possibly hoped," LaSalle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton said.

Dozens of police vehicles were in the area overnight and into Thursday morning as authorities hunted for Ambler, who resigned from the department more than a decade ago. Police were guarding the perimeter and also keeping an eye on homes in the area before the search resumed at 6 a.m.

Earlville Community Unit School District 9 canceled school Thursday "under the advisement of law enforcement."

"Keeping your children safe is a top priority and we appreciate all of your cooperation in this situation," the district wrote in a note to parents. 

Authorities believed Wednesday Ambler may have been hiding out in the woods south of Earlville. 

They said Ambler likely picked the area because he hunts there and knows it well. They had called off the search until Thursday morning, noting the difficulty of continuing the manhunt into the pitch-black forest at nighttime.

On Wednesday evening, heavily armed police converged on the wooded area just south of Route 34 near Earlville.

"He's armed we believe with a .45 caliber semi automatic pistol," said Templeton. "He's on the run. He's, I'm sure, very desperate right now."

Police focused their search on the wooded area after two LaSalle County sheriff's deputies spotted a stolen vehicle and noticed a campsite nearby.

"When they pulled up they saw the campsite and they saw ambler bolt from campsite ... into the woods," Templeton said.

Ambler has been on the run for days after fleeing from police who tried to arrest him for a bond violation.

Police said the situation began "spiraling" about a week ago.

Investigators believe he stole a corn hauling truck near Mendota and then ditched it in Plainfield where he carjacked a man at gunpoint Wednesday morning.

"I knew who it was, so I wasn't surprised because I heard he was armed and dangerous," the carjacking victim, who NBC 5 is not naming, said.

The victim--who spoke exclusively with NBC 5-- encountered Ambler while checking in on his recently deceased uncle's barn.

"That's when he took me to the other part of the barn and told me sit in the straw," he said.

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