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Man surrenders after standoff with police

December 12, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A police standoff with a man bearing a shotgun who refused to leave his home ended peacefully Thursday night when the man turned himself in to officers.

An arrest warrant was issued charging William Ralph Hanna Sr., 43, of 317 Hess Ave., Martinsburg, with a felony count of wanton endangerment with a firearm.

Martinsburg Police Department Cpl. John Sherman and other officers first were dispatched to Hanna's Hess Avenue home just before 5:30 p.m. for a reported domestic battery. Dispatchers warned police that Hanna had a gun. When police initially contacted the man on a phone, he said that he was not going to be arrested and that he did not care if police officers were hurt, Sherman said.

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Sherman said he negotiated with Hanna, who surrendered at 6:50 p.m.

"I was finally able to get him to cooperate and walk outside without anybody being hurt," Sherman said.

Police found an unloaded 12-gauge shotgun inside the house and a spent shell casing outside. More than 20 shells were found inside the house near the gun, Sherman said.

Hanna's wife, Sherry Hanna, 41, told police that her husband threatened to shoot her and then fired his gun once in the air outside of the home's back door, Sherman said.

Sherry Hanna said a verbal argument between she and her husband turned physical. William Hanna loaded his shotgun and pointed it at her, police said.

Sherry Hanna suffered an apparent minor injury to her mouth. She was treated near the scene by a medic with the Martinsburg Fire Department, Sherman said.

About 20 minutes before Hanna surrendered, four officers with the Special Response Team arrived. They were clad in full-body gear and at least one man was carrying an automatic rifle, while another carried a device used to break down doors.

At the scene, firefighters with the Martinsburg Fire Department blocked off Hess Avenue with a firetruck. An ambulance idled nearby and several police cars were parked outside the home. Neighbors occasionally stood on their porches to see what was going on. A young woman took several photographs of the street and then ran away.

Hanna was being held in Eastern Regional Jail Thursday night. He is to be arraigned by a magistrate this morning, Sherman said.

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