Crime

Man Tried To Flush Infant Down Toilet, SWAT Intervenes

| by Reve Fisher
Dennis GateleyDennis Gateley

A domestic dispute turned into a standoff with the SWAT team.

On Aug. 1, Dennis Gateley had started arguing with the mother of his child, as well as the child’s paternal grandmother, in a bathroom in their Pittsburgh home, according to Gateley’s brother, reports The Associated Press.

Police said the dispute started over an argument concerning who would watch the 6-month-old child. The grandmother told investigators she saw Gateley assaulting the baby’s mother, so she took the child and ran with the infant’s mother into the bathroom to escape.

But Gateley got into the bathroom. The brother saw the two women “yelling at Dennis who was holding the infant child upside-down pushing his head into the toilet,” according to the criminal complaint.

Soon after, when relatives tried to intervene, Gateley "hit infant’s head off the wall of the bathroom and immediately shoved baby’s head in the toilet," according to WPXI. The family dog bit the enraged father, possibly in an attempt to save the child.

After Gateley went to grab his gun, another witness "saw Dennis throw the baby’s crib down the stairs after them," according to police. He reportedly threatened to shoot everyone and said, "I’m going to kill them."

When he refused to leave the residence, SWAT was called. Three hours later, Gatelely surrendered.

"Our negotiators worked hard to convince the actor to come out and surrender, which he did eventually," Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler told KDKA. "There was no deployment of gas or anything like that."

Once in custody, Gateley continued to lash out at the officers.

"Which one of you were hiding behind the car?" he said, according to the criminal complaint. "I could have picked either one of you off at any time. I had the advantage, because I had the high ground."

Gateley is facing numerous charges, including making terroristic threats, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault, simple assault and illegally possessing a firearm.

As a convicted felon with a history of confrontations with law enforcement officers, neighbors said he’s known for his temper.

"In the toilet, I mean, who just does that?" wondered neighbor Jessica Haines. "I can’t imagine it. It really makes me sick, it makes me sad."

"He needs help," said Stephanie Hawkins. "He needs so much help. I just hope he sees all the hurt he caused to this family."

Sources: AP via KSAZ, KDKA, WPXI / Photo credit: WPXI

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