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Seige is time of terror for family

May 30, 1998

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

When the police concussion grenade went off at Dave & Pat's Bar & Grill at 3 p.m. Friday, Donald "Don-Don" Norris' family and friends feared the worst.

"They killed him! They killed him!" screamed his mother, Mary Jane Brindle.

Brindle, Norris' pregnant girlfriend, other family members and friends swarmed past yellow police tape toward the bar before they were stopped by officers.

Brindle screamed, then collapsed onto the concrete next to the police Mobile Command Center at the corner of Madison Avenue and West Washington Street.

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His pregnant girlfriend, Brenda Staley, 19, also ran sobbing toward the scene. Staley was there with their 2-year-old daughter, Natalie.

Before the grenade went off, police wouldn't let family members talk to Norris despite their urgent pleas. The exception was Brindle, who spoke with him by telephone.

"He said he wanted to die and he was going to shoot himself," Brindle said.

Brindle and Staley, speaking to a reporter just seconds before the blast, were convinced that the police wanted to kill Norris because he had successfully eluded them since he was charged with theft in December.

Staley had urged the police to let her speak to him.

"He ain't going to do nothing to me," she said.

"They just want to shoot him, that's all it is. He was trying to change but they never leave him alone."

Norris had said he wouldn't leave the bar until he saw Staley.

Staley told police that she had been with Norris two hours before the standoff started and that he didn't have a gun.

The standoff began when police, seeking to arrest Norris on an outstanding warrant, chased Norris into the bar.

He asked bartender John Barger to hide him from the officers.

"I told him I ain't getting in trouble for him," Barger said. Norris wasn't a regular at the bar, Barger said.

Police called Norris on the bar's telephone, Barger said.

Bar patron Butch Lowman said Norris told police he was afraid that they would shoot him. Lowman, another patron and Barger then left the bar.

Other friends and acquaintances said that they think Norris needs help. "He needs help, he doesn't need abuse," said Mary Eversole, whose daughter knows Norris.

Dozens of bystanders watched the scene unfold, held back by yellow police tape and criticizing officers for bringing in snipers and not allowing the family to talk with Norris.

About 10 minutes after police removed Norris from the scene, Barger cleaned up blood and broken glass left by Norris on the front porch and reopened the bar.

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