Dennis Gateley, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is facing multiple charges after a dispute where he allegedly tried flushing a baby down a toilet. Police were called to a home where Gateley had barricaded himself with a gun after an argument erupted just after midnight on Tuesday.
Negotiators eventually talked Gateley into surrendering peacefully, and he was taken into custody.
Family members were able to rescue the baby, who has been released from a local hospital where he was taken as a precaution, according to WPXI.
Here’s what you need to know now:
1. He was Arguing With Family Members About the Baby’s Care Before He Allegedly Tried Flushing a Baby Down a Toilet
Family members told police that Gateley and his girlfriend, Melinda Stracuzza, had been arguing Monday over whether Gateley should be taking better care of their baby, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
According to the criminal complaint, Gateley started punching and pushing Stracuzza during the feud. She and Gateley’s mother, Babette Stefanovitz, took the baby and ran into the bathroom. At this point Gateley pulled open the door, grabbed the infant, and proceeded to push its head against a wall before pushing the baby’s head into a toilet.
Friends and family members rushed upstairs after hearing a commotion, and saw Gateley pushing the child headfirst into the toilet.
2. Negotiators Talked Him Into Surrendering
A witness told police that she witnessed Gateley throwing a baby’s crib down the stairs after the family, according to CBS Pittsburgh. Before heading to the bedroom where he kept his guns, he pointed at them and said, “I’m going to kill them,” according to the witness.
When police responded to the incident, residents of the house said Gateley was inside and that he was armed.
According to a press release, “The male initially refused to come out of the house but Police Bureau negotiators successfully convinced him to surrender at approximately 2:41 a.m. The actor was taken into custody and transported to the Allegheny County Jail.”
Before heading to jail, authorities drove Gateley to a hospital where he was treated and released for a dog bite that occurred during the incident. He then became irate with officers. According to the criminal complaint, Gateley stated, “Which one of you were hiding behind the car? I could have picked either one of you off at any time. I had the advantage, because I had the high ground.”
3. His Girlfriend & the Baby Were Able To Escape
According to the press release, Gateley’s girlfriend and baby safely left the home and were transported to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a precaution.
The press release states, “At approximately 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 2, Zone 3 Officers and SWAT were dispatched to the 100 block of Southern Avenue in Mt. Washington for a domestic in which a male pulled a gun. The female victim got out of the residence along with a 6-week old infant.”
A family spokesperson told WPXI that the baby was released from the hospital and is back home.
4. He Has a Previous Record
According to the Associated Press, Gateley was on probation for a simple assault conviction from last year.
In addition, Gateley is not legally allowed to own a firearm because he was convicted of a felony aggravated assault, in which he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and trying to disarm an officer in 2009, online records show. He was sentenced to six to 12 months in jail and three years’ probation in that incident.
He has also been previously convicted of indecent deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated assault, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Family members said Gateley regularly wears a handgun on his hip, the Post-Gazette reported.
5. He Is Being Held on Multiple Charges
Gateley was charged with assault, illegal firearm possession, terrorist threats, and endangering a child.
His Facebook account shows that he graduated from Oliver High School in 2003.
Online records did not list an attorney for Gateley.