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Final surrender

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A member of Winchester police tactical team walks outside East Leicester Street as he moves into position during the standoff. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Tactical team officers ride on Warren County’s armored Bearcat vehicle after leaving the scene on Shawnee Avenue in Winchester following a standoff that lasted several hours on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Winchester police stand outside 252 Shawnee Ave. after a standoff with a city man ended on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

City man gives self up after keeping police at bay for more than two hours

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A city man who threatened to harm himself with a gun surrendered to authorities after a nearly 21⁄2-hour standoff Tuesday.

The incident ended without shots fired or injuries reported, but the man remains hospitalized and under observation, according to city police Sgt. Frank Myrtle.

Emergency dispatchers received a call at 11:05 a.m. about a 22-year-old man at 252 Shawnee Ave. who threatened to harm himself and possibly had access to firearms, Myrtle said. Authorities would not release the man's name because police have not charged him with any criminal offenses and continue to treat the matter as a medical issue, Myrtle added later that day. Authorities also recovered at least one firearm, but Myrtle would not say exactly how many or what kind they found.

Myrtle would not comment on whether police had an outstanding warrant for the man's arrest.

A man hospitalized under these circumstances typically will be examined by crisis care workers, followed by more treatment at another facility, Myrtle explained. Police also can seek a temporary detention order to keep the man in a hospital or other facility if needed, according to Myrtle.

"We received calls from a family member in reference to the welfare of an individual inside the residence," Myrtle told reporters after the incident. "Basically, there was some concern reference to him possibly harming himself. ... There was belief that he did have a firearm with him."

Family members were inside the home at the time the man began making threats, according to Myrtle. Authorities suspect alcohol may have been involved, Myrtle said.

"The members of the family were able to get out of the house without being harmed," Myrtle said, but added he did not know how many people had been in the home.

Police began evacuating residents from neighboring homes, Myrtle said. Officers blocked off Shawnee Avenue as well as Leicester Street near the residence.

Members of the city police crisis negotiation and SWAT teams assisted. The agency also received help from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and a state police SWAT team.

The Warren County Sheriff's Office responded with its armored vehicle. A crew from the South End Fire and Rescue Station also stood by in case needed.

Some residents driving down Parkway Street saw that police had blocked Leicester Street and indicated that they lived in the area. At least one bus driver with Winchester Public Schools could not drop off pupils on a road blocked off during the incident. School district Executive Director Kevin McKew came to the scene to assist the bus driver.

A mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service arrived to find part of his route blocked. Police escorted him through and let him deliver to some residences.

"They told me where I could go and where I could not go, OK, so I complied and, yes, they have been helpful," said Steve Harron. "People probably won't get their mail delivered today but I'm sure they understand why. I mean, if they clear it up quick enough I'll come back out and deliver it if they want me to."

Regina Blowe, a friend of the man's family, said she received a call from his mother, who asked her to come to the house. Blowe, 34, stood outside the blocked area waiting to be escorted closer to the home, and expressed surprise about situation.

At about 1:30 p.m. the man came out of the residence and police took him to Winchester Medical Center for a psychological evaluation, Myrtle said. Officers checked the home for other occupants, then searched for firearms. Family and friends then were allowed back into the home shortly before 2 p.m.


We need to "militarize" the entire regional law enforcement community to take down a distraught citizen? Were those Social Workers and Mental Health workers hanging off the CAV [Citizen Assault Vehicle]? Had any threat been established to anyone outside of the room the "Perp" was in? Why the invasive, aggressive and intense search fro weapons AFTER the "Perp" had agreed to come out and undergo examination and be helped? Just one more question that comes to mind following this article....when did the "Protect and Serve" turn into "Maintaining Dominance At Your Expense"?
Is this how we treat those among us that need help? Are our nurses, social workers and mental health specialists all going through 13 weeks at Parris Island [Marine Corps Boot Camp]? Do they qualify with weapons annually, or do they rely on old fashion technology, like empathy, understanding, developed insights? I do understand it's more fun to dress up like GI Joe and run ammo through the M16...and it is an effective way to let the "civilians" know who's in charge.

Mental subject with a gun and you don't think they needed to go to extreme measures to ensure not only the safety of the individual but also the safety of the officers trying to end this situation peacefully AND the safety of local residents? Maybe you should have a little more respect for these officers who put their own lives at risk while trying to end this situation peacefully in which they did succeed, so obvouisly they did something correct!!

And if you notice, they did not arrest this individual and throw him in jail...they took him to the hospital to get the help he needed. What more do you want???

You are complaining about our Police officers and Deputies for doing there job.
"Protect & Serve"
Dude you need a life..

Good Job to all the officers and glad you EACH made it home to your loved ones after your shift was over.

It's simple: By law, police can't be the military, so we just simply militarize the police. The top two photos in this article illustrate what is wrong with police today. Yes, there is a time and place for that type of force, but that wasn't it. You can give regular uniformed officers long-guns and ballistic shields and accomplish the same thing without looking like you just went on a shopping spree at Ft. Bragg.

So when your uncle becomes despondent because he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, retreats into his basement in shock and disbelief, and you are tempted to call for help, this is what you should expect?

Using this article as proof, once you make the call for help, you lose all control over how your uncle is helped. In this type of response, either he submits to the aggression that just appeared in his state of bewilderment, or dies in a hail of gunfire by those protecting and serving. While an M16 provides an excellent form of intervention, there are other effective means of intervention, and people trained in the application of those skills. It's just not as exciting as riding a SWAT mobile.

My concern is about a developing and alarming trend with the use of SWAT teams. In Fairfax County, a warrant to produce a civil document will be served by a SWAT team, at your home, your place of business, at the gym. A common threat used in parties involved in civil litigation. It happens because we let it. Google "Mayor

He held no hostages, posed no threat to anyone but himself, was not a fugitive, and above all else, had committed no crime that warranted the involvement of police, certainly not a SWAT team. SWAT units are comprised of police officers trained in tactical skills who have one goal in mind -- to defuse existing violent situations, with deadly force if necessary.

The job of the police is to keep the peace, to protect and serve the citizenry. SWAT teams resemble the military because the military's objective is to kill the enemy. They utilize visual intimidation to the fullest. And I object to the use of intimidation in this instance. Due to this reason specifically, my right to be free of governmental intimidation, our police forces should employ the services of SWAT teams only in the most dire of circumstances, where there is immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians and/or the community at large.

In short, the officers' lives were in danger because the police/SWAT teams created a situation that eventually placed them in danger.


Great discussion, folks. I think everyone has valid points here. It is an eye-opener to say the least, for all of us. It reminds me somewhat of what I see in the Michael Moore documentaries. I think we do need to ask the hard questions that are provoked through this event and blog discussion. There's got to be accountability of those resources and when best to use them. They are public dollars. Yes, we need to protect our freedom, our public, and protect our public security employees. I think they definitely have more of that now than ever since 9-11 event. There is alot of public resources out there, and the question should be, how is being used, and is it being used for the highest good all the time? There's not much money left in our personal bank accounts these days, yet, I see many organizations cashing in on the fear created in this country over terrorism and what not. 9-11 event really did change us alot, didn't it? Wow. It ain't the same anymore....it ain't like what it used to be. Everything is blown out of proportion these days. I do pray for the guy who lost his marbles, though, and I am very thankful to see the force we have at our disposal if ever the time calls for it to be employed. Wow.

i agree, fullermalarkey, you should become an interventionist and then go to calls like this and volunteer to go in the house alone and intervene. Doubt you will though...alot harder and riskier than talking your line.


Now that I have had to time to reflect and think it about it a bit more, it does seem to be a big "over-the-top" with the armored vehicle, and an entire tactical SWAT unit being called in for this. Or, maybe it is just the fact that it is sensationalized by the media. It would have freaked me out if I was a neighbor and saw all that armed force pulling up across the street from me. Yikes. I guess I am confused and not sure if it could have been handled a bit more low-key. It is a little traumatic to see. I guess I am just not used to seeing police resources used like that for stuff like this. But, again, I am sure the supervisors were thinking about all the crazy incidents that we have read and heard about across the country with people who go nuts, and I am sure the supervisors who deployed all of these assets were thinking about "what if" scenarios, and did not want to underestimate this. Daggum though. It's a shame that we have all been programmed to be so scared and fearful in these days and times. There is no more Mayberry'esque/Andy Griffith days are there? Kind of draining to think about.

A show of force is not an abuse of power but was this show of force necessary in this situation?
More likely, it was an opportunity for the Warren County Sheriff's Department to roll out their new $250,000. assault vehicle.

Someone with a concealed carry permit who choses to carry during times they feel having their sidearm on them is most likely to be necessary is not intimidating to me. Actually, you seldom see when a citizen is carrying.
I wouldn't want people to know it was there. I would just want to know I had it to protect myself if I was threatened with bodily harm.

While it is comforting to know that a vehicle such as the Warren County Sheriff's Department now has in it's arsenal is available in extreme emergencies I find the use of police intimidation and extreme show of force is moving our society in the direction of a police state.


Thanks for chiming in, 4ur411. I do think this event triggered a political opportunity, whether it would ever be admitted or not (no, it would never be admitted it was for that would it?). Lets put it this way, how and why did the local media get involved to sensationalize it? I imagine the public affairs officer called this event in to the local media coverage outlets so they could respond to the scene. I am actually kind of glad they did, so I can now see what is going to happen to someone when they get forced out of their home. This reveals a bit of where your hard-earned tax dollars are going, and yes, we need to provide the best equipment and training we can for our law enforcement agencies, but jeez, come on, who had their hands in purchasing that Bearcat Assault Vehicle? And, why called "Bearcat, and not Black Bear, Rottweiler, or something creative like "Whoze Your Daddy"? Now I know what is going to happen when me or my neighbor are evicted from our homes because we can no longer afford the mortgage. I know I am soon on that list at the rate things are going. But, I bet there will be ten police and sherriff cars pull up to the house, along with the big ol' "Whoz your daddy" vehicle, complete with smoke screen grenades, riot control and tear gas grenade launchers, and eight $4,000.00 well-armoured assualt officers hanging off the sides, all waiting to pounce on me when I lock the door and cry and don't want to leave. I guess that's when I suddenly become considered a danger or threat to the public, huh? All that situation (with this suicidal dude) needed was two cops, and one police car -- one guy to secure the rear entrance, and the other to secure the front entrance. Sorry for getting smart, cute, and funny. I guess I just can't help but wonder what types of scenarios did the local law enforcement agencies have when they put in for those combat/miltary equipment? Jimminy crickets! Is it really really THAT BAD around here these days? Man, I must really have my head burried in the dirt very deep . No, don't tell me 911/Pentagon stuff either. Come on man, this is the Valley. I am sorry for ranting....no, I am not. Dang. I hate seeing what this country is coming to. I am really going to freak the next time I get a speeding ticket around here. Wooh! Folks, don't speed!! Officers will have their hands over their holsters ready to pul their gun out as you reach into your pocket or glove compartment to get your id and paperwork. And, if you don't do that because you are terrified to move anything on your body, then the officer is going to call in for back up reinforcements, and here comes that Bearcat rolling up behind you, and the officers all dismount, going "hut, hut, hut, hut, hut....hut, hut, hut, hut". Sorry, I am tired, and don't want to see so many guns and use of force anymore. That's why I moved out here from down in the city. Geesh!

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