Tear gas, K-9 and SWAT used to capture suspect
The Rolla Police Department had to use tear gas, a K-9 unit and its SWAT team Friday night to apprehend a man who is accused of impersonating a police officer.
Chance Aaron Melton, 35, was taken into custody late Friday evening after being arrested for false impersonation of a police officer, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault.
Melton, who police say has lived in both Rolla and Springfield, Mo., was placed in the Phelps County Jail Friday, pending the issuance of warrants. Charges had not been filed as of Saturday afternoon.
Rolla police began searching for Melton after they were notified of an individual impersonating a Rolla police officer.
The police responded around 4:40 p.m. Friday to a residence in the 600 block of Woodland Drive and learned during the course of an investigation that a woman came home to find a man in her back yard.
“When the victim contacted the male subject, the individual told her that he was a Rolla police officer and he demanded access to her residence,” a news release from the RPD states. “When the victim questioned the suspect and asked to see his credentials, the suspect fled the scene in a grey colored, newer model SUV.”
A photo of the subject was taken before he fled, and the RPD shared the photo on its Facebook page.
Police asked for the public’s help in identifying the subject, who was described as a white man in his early to mid-20s, with dark hair and wearing a dark colored jacket.
Upon further investigation, Melton was identified as the person responsible for the incident, according to police.
RPD Chief Mark Kearse said police were told that the subject had a gun.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Rolla police officers determined that the suspect was inside a house on Forest Drive, which is located off of Woodlawn Drive.
“We found a vehicle parked in front of a residence that matched the vehicle with the reported license plates,” Kearse said. Police also contacted his family and friends, who said they believed Melton was located in the residence on Forest Drive.
The RPD news release stated a perimeter was established and after several failed attempts to get the suspect to voluntarily exit the house on Forest Drive, the RPD SWAT team was activated.
“Since he impersonated a police officer and we were told he had a gun, we decided to go ahead and call the SWAT team,” Kearse said.
According to Kearse, since the subject did not come out after several hours, tear gas was used, but that did not cause the subject to leave the residence either.
Kearse said Melton did not own the house, but the owner and renter gave police consent to get the suspect out.
A K-9 dog and the SWAT team then went in the residence on Forest Drive and found Melton lying under a pile of clothes, Kearse said. The subject was taken into custody around 10:50 p.m. Friday.
According to Kearse, the City of Rolla Fire and Rescue was called to the scene to help air out the residence because the tear gas was used.