Police
Heavily-armed police and SWAT team personnel moved up and down the 200 block of North High Street well into Wednesday morning, in answer to a back-up call for assistance from Village Police Officer Pat Roegner. Gunfire was exchanged several times, and the shootout ended in a villager’s death. (Photo by Matt Minde)

Heavily-armed police and SWAT team personnel moved up and down the 200 block of North High Street well into Wednesday morning, in answer to a back-up call for assistance from Village Police Officer Pat Roegner. Gunfire was exchanged several times, and the shootout ended in a villager’s death. (Photo by Matt Minde)

Late night High Street shootout ends in Yellow Springs resident’s death

 

View a portion of the July 31 joint law enforcement press conference.

The village was on high alert late Tuesday night as most of Greene County’s police firepower converged in Yellow Springs to back up local police in a shootout with a local man. About 40 police cars, emergency vehicles and SWAT trucks stood on alert most of the night at the corner of High and Dayton Streets as the Greene County Sheriff’s Department sought to bring the shoot-out to a peaceful ending.

But that was not to be. When law officers were able to enter the resident’s North High Street home at around 5 a.m., they found the man deceased. According to Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer early Wednesday morning, it will not be known until after the department’s investigation whether the man shot himself or was shot by police.

“We train for the worst but hope for the best. No one wants a fatality,” Fischer said after the shoot-out was over. He described the event as “very dangerous to law enforcement, very dangerous for the neighbors.”

The sheriff’s department has not yet officially released the name of the deceased, nor has the Yellow Springs Police Department. However, the stand-off began at 10:45 p.m. when Yellow Springs police received a 911 call from the home of Paul Schenck on North High. The caller did not identify himself but said he had been assaulted and needed medical help. Schenck’s son, Max, was later transported by the Miami Township Fire Rescue and treated at Greene Memorial Hospital. On Wednesday morning, hospital officials said he had been released from the hospital at about 3 a.m.

When Officer Pat Roegner responded to the 911 call, he reported that a person was firing shots from the home, according to a press release from Village Manager Laura Curliss. At that point, Officer Roegner called for back-up, and received a robust response.

“Everybody in the county came,” according to Sheriff Fischer.

The sequence of events will not be completely clear until Officer Roegner files his report, according to Curliss, who said it would take at least a day to do so. Some neighbors of the area heard shots from a variety of locations in the neighborhood, and believed that the shooter was outside and moving around with his gun. However, according to Curliss today, there is no evidence so far that he left his home

At about 11:30 most villagers received a HyperReach robo call alerting them to the situation. The call stated that an active shooter was in the North High/Stafford Street area. Residents of the 200 block in that neighborhood were encouraged to vacate their homes, and other villagers were advised to stay away.

On Wednesday, Curliss, who said she was not contacted by police dispatch until 1 a.m., said she did not know who had written the HyperReach message. Police Chief Anthony Pettiford was out of town, and Roegner, who was in charge in Pettiford’s absence, was on the North High Street scene.

During this period, villagers in the area heard frequent gun shots, with some lulls in between. According to Sheriff Fischer, law officers fired “a couple of rounds” in response to the shooter, who he believes fired “several dozen” shots from inside the house.

Outside, police had set up a command quarters at Union and High Streets, and media — representatives from Dayton’s Channel 2, Channel 7, Channel 22 and Fox 45, waited on High and Dayton Streets, occasionally interviewing neighbors or passersby. The scene seemed out of a TV crime show, with police cars, their lights flashing, parked along Dayton and High Streets and officers in SWAT gear coming and going. The occasional helicopter hovered above the scene and at about 2 a.m. a SWAT vehicle lumbered down High Street toward the shooter’s home. Gunshots were heard at that time. The last shots were heard about 2:15 a.m..

According to Sheriff Fischer, a trained hostage negotiator who was in charge of the crime scene, police did attempt negotiations with the shooter.

“We tried to open up a line of communication by telephone,” he said. “We were not successful. He did his talking with a weapon.”

Various family members were brought to the scene, but the attempts to talk remained unsuccessful.

The scene went quiet for several hours, and according to Sheriff Fischer, the man did not answer phone calls. During this time police were waiting to attain a warrant to enter the home.

At around 4 a.m., police received the warrant from a Greene County judge. A helicopter was dispatched to fly above the High Street home for surveillance. Greene County Sheriff’s Department sent a SWAT team robot to make entry at the residence. Around 5 a.m., those present were told that the robot had made entry, but there was no word of the coutcome. No shots were heard.

One by one law enforcement vehicles began leaving the area, and SWAT team officers and other police began walking back to their vehicles and unloading their guns. At about 5:30 a.m. Sheriff Fischer told media representatives that the shooter had been found deceased in the house. He stated he could not say anything else, and that his department would begin the investigation immediately.

On Wednesday morning, Curliss said that two agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, were in the High Street home collecting evidence, and would likely be there through tomorrow. The street will continue to be blocked off until the agents leave.

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