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The Villages
Friday, May 24, 2024

Villager alleges exploitation and abuse prior to violent standoff at her home

Lorraine Heroux
Lorraine Heroux
James Savage
James Savage

A Villager is alleging exploitation and abuse prior to a violent standoff at her home.

James Savage, 54, is facing a fresh felony charge of battery on a person over the age 65 as he remains jailed without bond at the Marion County Jail following his March 16 arrest at the end of a 24-hour standoff at 7970 SE 174th Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham.

The home owned by Lorraine Heroux was tear-gassed after Savage shot at Marion County sheriff’s deputies when he was barricaded inside the home. Savage also shot at and disabled a robot sent into the home by the SWAT team. A battering ram was ultimately used by the SWAT team to enter the home and take Savage into custody following his surrender.

The home on Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham was considered a crime scene on Saturday
Lorraine Heroux’s home on Belhaven Loop in the Village of Chatham was considered a crime scene after the standoff.

Heroux, a widow who had befriended Savage, has since reported exploitation and physical abuse by the man who also used the alias, “Mario Gambino.”

Savage had summoned Heroux on March 4 to the parking lot at Publix at Mulberry Grove Plaza in The Villages. He was with the woman he would later force her into a Mercedes in the Village of Monarch Grove, which set in motion a series of events that ended with the standoff at Heroux’s home.

During the meeting in the Publix parking lot, Savage poked Heroux and used his elbow to strike her in the head, the arrest report said. The report indicated that the sheriff’s office is also investigating a charge of exploitation of the elderly.

Heroux’s home sustained heavy damage with doors and windows smashed by the SWAT team’s armored vehicles. A crew from Marion County Fire Rescue donned protective gear and oxygen tanks when they entered the home several hours later for an inspection, due to the use of the teargas.

Savage was hardly a stranger in the Belhaven Loop neighborhood. He was arrested last year after alarming behavior apparently fueled by jealousy, aimed at a woman who lived on the same street where the standoff occurred. He sent her more than 200 text messages, many of them of a threatening nature. He also screamed into her Ring doorbell camera on a number of occasions, leaving plenty of evidence of his scary behavior. The prosecutor’s office opted not to move forward with the case after the victim became uncooperative.

In 2020, Savage was convicted of exploitation of an elderly woman with dementia in St. Lucie County. His co-defendant in that case was the same woman he had tormented on Belhaven Loop.

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