By Joe Beck
Law enforcement officers swarmed over a Front Royal neighborhood Wednesday morning where they took a 59-year-old man into custody and later charged him with several gun-related offenses linked to reports of shots fired in his home.
Front Royal Police Sgt. Jason Ryman identified John Edward Robinson of 735 W. 15th St. as the man taken into custody. Ryman said Robinson was taken to Warren Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation "before we do anything else with him."
Robinson surrendered peacefully to police at 10:46 a.m. after a Front Royal police negotiator spoke to him for a few minutes by telephone, authorities said. No injuries were reported.
"He didn't offer any resistance or anything like that," Ryman said.
Authorities said later in the day that Robinson was charged with shooting into an occupied building, reckless handling of a firearm and discharging a gun inside town limits. Police executed a search warrant on Robinson's home in mid-afternoon and seized "numerous" firearms and ammunition, according to a news release.
Police said Robinson lived alone in the house. Several neighbors described him as a loner whose conversations with them tended to be brief and infrequent.
"He's always been a strange dude," said Phil Prentice, who has lived across the street from Robinson for 12 years.
Ryman and others gave the following account of how events unfolded during the 45-minute incident.
Witnesses reported shots fired at the rear of the house a few minutes after 10 a.m. and patrol units arrived at 10:08 a.m. Officers concluded the shots were fired from Robinson's home, and Cpl. Steve Mauck and others blocked off the house and the street. At least two more shots were fired after police arrived at the scene.
Detective Cpl. Kevin Foltz, a hostage negotiator, contacted Robinson by telephone and persuaded him to leave the house with his hands up after speaking with him for about five minutes.
Online state court records for Warren County show no criminal record for Robinson and only a few traffic offenses.
Anyone with more information on the case is asked to contact Ryman at 540-635-2111.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org