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Standoff Suspect Fatally Shot By SWAT Team Following Gunbattle

Standoff Suspect Fatally Shot By SWAT Team Following Gunbattle

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The Toledo Blade via YellowBrix

May 09, 2011

SYLVANIA, OH – A man who was involved in a standoff with area law enforcement was fatally shot Sunday morning at the apartment complex in Sylvania where he lived, authorities said.

The man, who is in his 60s, was shot by police during an exchange of gunfire with SWAT team members, said Bill Sanford, Sylvania safety director. The identity of the man has not yet been released.

Sylvania police evacuated the Sylvania Gardens Apartments, 6632 Maplewood Ave., about 5:40 p.m. Saturday when the man on the first floor of the three-story building did not respond to officers dispatched there. The apartment complex is directly across the street from the Sylvania Police station.

Four volleys of tear gas over two hours were fired into the Sylvania apartment building late Saturday as authorities worked to end a standoff with the barricaded man.

The first volley occurred about 9:35 p.m., about 25 minutes after two shots were fired from the man’s apartment. The man did not emerge after the barrage of tear gas, and police made plans to wait him out.

Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus said the man was shot about 3 a.m. Sunday and that as of about 10:20 a.m. he was still inside the apartment. The coroner has not been able view the body at the scene because the apartment was still full of tear gas.

Chief Rhodus said about an hour before police first arrived at the scene, officers were at the same apartment building to investigate the discharge of the firearm on the second floor, one floor above the apartment of the man involved in the shooting.

“This apparently agitated the man causing him to come out into the hallway with a handgun, saying that he was going to take matters into his own hands,” Chief Rhodus said.

A resident who saw the man step out with a handgun notified Sylvania police. Then officers responding to the report arrived and saw the man standing in his doorway with a small-caliber handgun. Upon seeing the officers, the man locked himself inside his apartment and the standoff ensued, the chief said.

Sylvania police then summoned the Sylvania Metro Special Response Team, Maumee Police, and Toledo Police SWAT Team. The Toledo bomb squad was called in as a precaution and arrived about 10 p.m. The chief said it appeared that the man was shot by law enforcement agents saying that the official would come from the coroner when he examines the body.

Police tried to establish contact with the man, to no avail, through a rotating crew of officers acting as negotiators, Mr. Sanford said.

Chief Rhodus said that the man has no criminal history with the Sylvania Police Department, but last December the man was reportedly acting irrationally and disorderly at the Speedway gas station at Main and Monroe streets in Sylvania. Sylvania police learned Saturday night that the man was recently released from jail in Shelby County, Ohio, after he was arrested for a weapons violation about two weeks ago.

Gladys Hall, who has lived in the building 23 years, was among residents watching what they could behind police lines. “It’s usually pretty nice,” she said.

Food and refreshment were offered to residents at a shelter set up in Sylvania Township fire station No. 1 on Monroe Street. After 11 p.m., city officials were making arrangements to put up displaced residents at an area hotel.

Steven Wolfe, a neighbor, said he was taking a nap Saturday when he was awakened by police knocking on all apartment doors at about 5:30 p.m., “telling everybody to get out.”

“I was a little nervous,” he said at a local hotel where residents stayed pending the resolution of the situation. “I just was worried about my safety and the safety of my neighbors even though the police were there.

“I just didn’t know much about the situation. I was just told there was a man with a gun,” he added.

Mr. Wolfe said that he later learned which of his neighbors was the suspected gunman. And although he did not know the man, he noted that he had met him a few times.

“He hardly talked to anybody,” he said. “He was introverted.”

Another Sylvania Gardens resident, Buthine Abdallah, was also displaced to a hotel with her six young children.

“It is very difficult with the kids. They were scared. They were all scared,” she said.

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