Standoff in Stow ends peacefully

Kristen Russo

A police officer walks down the blocked Kent Road during a standoff yesterday afternoon with a suicidal 45-year-old man. The standoff lasted about five hours, and ended when the man was taken into custody. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

WATCH video of the standoff.

A man was taken into custody yesterday afternoon after a five-hour standoff with Stow Police. Police said he was reportedly armed with a rifle.

At about 10 a.m., the Portage County Sheriff’s department received reports that a 45-year-old man had barricaded himself in his Kent Road home. Stow Police Lt. Anne Stirm said the Sheriff’s department forwarded the call to the Stow Police Department, which set up a perimeter blocking the street from Spaulding Drive to Fishcreek Road.

Stirm said the man wanted “suicide by cop.”

“I believe he has made a threat to shoot some rounds off in an attempt to get the police to shoot him,” Stirm said of the man before he was taken in to custody.

Metro SWAT was at the scene to assist with negotiations, and the Kent Police Department helped direct motorists around the detour.

Stirm said Al Hamilton, a day shift police officer at the Stow Police Department and hostage negotiator with Metro SWAT, began negotiations before the SWAT team arrived.

Dawn Walsh, lead customer service representative at Speedway on West Main Street, which becomes Kent Road, watched as police pulled up and blocked off the street just outside the gas station where she works.

“Police cut off the street, and a customer came in and said the SWAT team came in with their shields and their guns drawn,” Walsh said.

A black unmarked police car sat outside Bistro On Main, and although Kent Police were directing the detour at Spaulding Drive, a red tow truck blocked the path of motorists from the intersection of West Main Street and Irma Avenue.

Around noon, the tow truck was replaced by a Kent police car.

Shortly after, a Stow police car pulled up to Integrated Medical, Inc., and a man in camouflage got out, strapped on a gun holster and bullet proof vest, put on a helmet and took off along the side of the building.

On the other side of the blockade, Stow Police directed traffic at the corner of Fishcreek and Kent roads. At 1:10 p.m., an armored SWAT vehicle came through the west end of the roadblock and parked on the left side of the street near the intersection of Verner Road. A white van pulled up and parked in a driveway on the other side of the road.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m., two people, a man and a woman, were allowed through the blockade and were given a police escort up the road to where the white van was parked. The exact connection these people have to the man or the incident has not been confirmed.

About 30 minutes later, two teenage girls emerged from the McDonald’s parking lot near the corner of Kent Road and Dayton Avenue. One of the girls cried as she spoke with the police stationed there to block traffic. The girls’ identities have also not been confirmed.

Just before 3:30 p.m. a voice over the police scanner announced that the man had been taken into custody, and police reopened the road to motorists.

Contact public affairs reporter Kristen Russo at [email protected]. Public affairs reporter Tyrel Linkhorn also contributed to this story.