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Five-hour standoff in Pa. ends quietly

February 17, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A five-hour standoff that sent the Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team to the remote village of Doylesburg ended peacefully Monday afternoon when the man surrendered to authorities.

"He was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation," Cpl. Jonathan Mays said shortly after the incident ended at about 2:30 p.m.

Mays declined to identify the man because of the mental health issue and the fact that he had not been charged with any crime as of the time he was taken into custody.

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Mays said the mental health evaluation was requested by a family member. The man was in the house alone throughout the incident, he said.

The incident began at about 8:45 a.m. when the man's wife left the house and called police. "His wife reported he made some statements that caused her concern," Mays said.

The first police units arrived in the village, located near the northern tip of Franklin County in Fannett Township, at about 9:30 a.m. Both ends of Main Street were blocked off by police and fire police and some of the nearby houses were evacuated.

"They evacuated everybody and told us not to come back for a while," said Lesley Scott, 28, of 22264 Main St., who lives behind the man's house.

"I got drawn out of a perfectly good 'Law and Order' episode," Scott said of the interruption.

Scott said police used an empty house next to the man's home to conduct surveillance during the incident.

"We just all stayed in and minded our own business and let them take care of their business," said Nancy Johnson, who was minding the counter at the Best Store and village post office down the street.

About 20 SERT members, many clad in military-style fatigues, responded to the village along with several troopers from Chambersburg, Pa. Mays said SERT team members are assigned to different barracks around the state and the first began arriving at about 11 a.m.

Mays said police eventually established telephone contact with the man and he came outside voluntarily. There was a rifle in the house, but no shots were fired and "no threats were made against any person," he said.

He estimated it took about 20 minutes for the man to come out of the house once SERT members began negotiating with him.

"He's not that bad of a guy. He's never done anything to me," Scott said of her neighbor.

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