On Monday February 6th, 2023 at approximately 10:33 AM, Porter County Central Dispatch received a report that a male had attacked a female and stole her cell phone near the intersection of Samuelson Road and Laurel Avenue in Portage. At that time, an off-duty Portage Police Officer was in the immediate area in his fully marked police vehicle and he was able to responded to the scene within seconds.
Upon that officer’s arrival, a male was fleeing eastbound on foot but upon seeing the officer’s police vehicle he turned around and fled into the backyard of the residence. As the officer attempted to give chase a female exited the backyard and informed the officer that she was the victim and the suspect was her boyfriend and he had just kicked in the backdoor and was now hiding in the basement of the house. It was reported the male was armed with a knife and possibly a handgun. The victim stated she thought the handgun was a realistic replica, but she could not be certain.
Additional police units responded and established a perimeter around the home. The female victim provided the male’s name as Jeremiah Owens (26 years old). Officers recognized this name as a person police had been on the lookout for due to having an active arrest warrant for parole violation. It was learned that Mr. Owens was also wanted on two active Porter County warrants as well.
Officers on scene were informed that an adult autistic person was in the house and, according to the female victim, was hiding on the upper level of the home due to being scared of Mr. Owens’ violent behavior. It was also learned that a large canine was in the home and it was reported that the dog would likely attempt to bite officers if they made entry.
The Portage Police Department SWAT Team was activated and shortly after arrival entry was made into the residence to remove the autistic person from harm’s way. Upon entry, the previously mentioned canine acted in an aggressive manner, and an officer deployed their TASER to drive the canine back. Officers were able to guide the canine into the backyard without having to use any further force. At this time, another adult female was also found inside the home and escorted to safety along with the autistic person.
Officers next attempted to communicate with Mr. Owens to gain his compliance in surrendering but those efforts were ineffective as Mr. Owens refused to communicate or come out of hiding. SWAT utilized remote controlled assets to search the interior of the home but those efforts proved unsuccessful. A police K-9 team then entered the home and Mr. Owens was located hiding in a small storage area in the basement. Mr. Owens was successfully taken into custody without injury at 12:44 PM.
Mr. Owens was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Once there, he was medically cleared and is currently being housed at the Porter County Jail without bond in accordance with his warrants. The second female found in the home, Donna Fazekas (53 years of age), was also found to have an active warrant for her arrest for the original charge of theft and was transported to PCJ as well, where she is being held in lieu of bond.
The autistic person involved in this incident was uninjured and able to be reunited with their father and the canine was returned to the homeowner.
Stemming from today’s incident, Mr. Owens is being charged with Domestic Battery Level-6 Felony and Resisting Arrest A-misdemeanor.