WEB EXCLUSIVE: Stow standoff ends peacefully after five hours

Sarika Jagtiani

A standoff between a Stow man bearing a .44 magnum and police and SWAT teams ended peacefully and the suspect was taken into police custody at 7:24 p.m. Thursday after a nearly five-hour standoff.

When police tried to serve Howard Steinberger, 47, with an arrest warrant for rape, Steinberger refused to answer the door of his 3888 Stow Road home.

Police then reached Steinberger by phone, and he threatened suicide and harm to others, said Stow Chief of Police Louis Dirker. Steinberger was alone in the house as his wife, who reported the rape, was at the police station while the warrant was being served.

Stow Police surrounded the house and engaged the SWAT team as Steinberger walked through the house with his gun, talking to negotiators and making “vague threats,” Dirker said.

“We’re ready to react any way he wants to go,” said Dirker early in the evening.

Neighbors were told to stay inside their homes, while on-lookers were encouraged to retreat to the other side of Darrow Road as negotiators tried to work with Steinberger.

“This guy’s wired,” said Dirker, as members of the SWAT team, dressed in camouflage, helmets and vests, paced an empty parking lot dotted with black police cars and SWAT team vans.

According to Dirker, Steinberger was reluctant to come out as he had “been through the system before.”

Steinberger had previously been charged with assault, resisting police, possession of marijuana and kidnapping, according to Dirker.

Steinberger eventually emerged through a huddle of police after hours of negotiation.

Dirker commended the SWAT and police teams for getting Steinberger out without any shots being fired and getting the suspect out quietly.

As a result of the standoff, Steinberger will also be charged with resisting arrest, inducing panic and disrupting public service, the Stow Police Department reported.

Contact general assignment reporter Sarika Jagtiani at [email protected].