Former cop barricades self in house

Jackie Valley

Incident began after man fired gunshots at son during argument

The Portage County Sherrif’s department shut down part of Lakewood Road after former Ravenna police chief Michael Swartout barricaded himself in his home. David Ranucci | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Former Ravenna police chief Michael Swartout refused to come out of his four-story Lakewood Road home as of 10:45 p.m. last night, continuing a daylong standoff with police.

The standoff began after Swartout allegedly fired shots at his adult son during an argument Tuesday night. When his son went to the police, Swartout led police on a high-speed chase ending at his house.

Sheriff Duane Kaley said Swartout is the only person in the house but is believed to be armed. No other shots have been fired.

A warrant for his arrest for felonious assault has been filed.

Kaley said the police have had limited communications with Swartout throughout the day, but added relatives could be used to negotiate with him depending on the circumstances. His family is located safely elsewhere.

Authorities cut electricity to the house early yesterday. By nightfall, the police stationed towering spotlights facing the house with sharpshooters positioned at an adjacent house across the street.

Kaley said authorities will wait “as long as it takes.”

“We’re using every bit of patience we possibly can to handle it very carefully,” he said.

Swartout resigned from his position as Ravenna police chief in March 1998 after being charged with aggravated menacing stemming from an incident at another officer’s Rootstown home that December. After drinking at a party, Swartout fired shots in the ground and air when asked to leave.

Despite Swartout’s ties to the police department, Kaley said officers are treating the situation professionally, even though Swartout is familiar with negotiation techniques.

Swartout has also been charged with domestic violence in 2001 and possession of drugs in February, according to Portage County court records. His wife, Lisa Swartout, filed for divorce in August.

Contact public affairs reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].