Hempfield man accused of firing 17 shots at troopers during standoff
By Renatta Signorini and Jewels Phraner
Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 9:26 a.m.
A Hempfield man allegedly fired at least 17 shots through the walls, windows and doors of his home over 21⁄2 hours at more than a dozen state troopers after a domestic dispute late Thursday.
“They could hear the whizzing of bullets going by them,” Trooper Steve Limani said Friday afternoon. “We were fortunate last night that none of our troopers were shot.”
It was good decision-making on the part of two troopers who responded to the call that kept everyone alive and uninjured, Limani said.
Daniel Lee Ryan, 44, wore a hospital gown over shorts and a button-down shirt to his arraignment Friday morning before District Judge Joseph DeMarchis. He was charged with 17 counts each of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment and a single count of terroristic threats.
Ryan called the incident “a misunderstanding” and told reporters he was depressed.
At about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, police went to a neighbor's home on Antler Lane, where Dawn Ryan had fled after her intoxicated husband threatened to kill her, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Neighbor Ruth Trumbetta said Dawn Ryan was talking with police on a cell phone when she came to her door, barefoot and wearing pajamas, just before halftime of the Pittsburgh Steelers game.
“She was frantic and hysterical,” Trumbetta said. “We just gave her some place warm to stay while she called the police and her family.”
Knowing there were firearms in the Ryan home, the two troopers made phone contact with Daniel Ryan and asked him to come outside. When Ryan did not leave the house, the troopers called to him from the safety of their patrol car.
“While they were giving him commands, gunshots started ringing out,” Limani said.
More than a dozen troopers arrived at the scene and heard bullets hitting nearby, according to the affidavit.
“Fortunately, none of our troopers … ended up with any type of injury,” Limani said.
At least 17 rounds were fired from two .9 mm handguns between about 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 1:06 a.m. Friday, police said.
When Ryan didn't respond to a negotiations team, troopers lobbed tear gas into his house, Limani said. Ryan eventually surrendered unarmed and was treated for tear gas exposure.
“In this instance, (tear gas) worked very effectively,” Limani said. “The outcome might've been a lot different if he came out with a firearm.”
Nearby roads, including Toll Route 66 between the Harrison City and Jeannette exits, were closed and homes were evacuated during the incident, Limani said. Antler Lane, a curvy, private road off North Greengate Road, is separated from Route 66 by a swath of woods about 100 yards wide. The roads remained closed for several hours, Limani said.
Dawn Ryan and the Trumbettas were escorted from Antler Lane to the Greensburg state police barracks between 11 and 11:30 p.m., Trumbetta said.
When the Trumbettas returned home at about 8 a.m. Friday, police were still investigating at the scene. Nearly every window in the Ryans' home was shattered; some had bullet holes.
Ryan told DeMarchis he and his wife have lived at the home for five years. He has been a caseworker with the state Department of Public Welfare for six years.
“I've never been in trouble in my life,” he told the judge. “I have been treated for alcohol issues before.”
Court records show only one traffic citation issued to him last year.
Daniel and Dawn Ryan were married in 2004 in Indiana County, according to courthouse records. As part of his bail conditions, Daniel Ryan is not permitted to have contact with his wife or possess a firearm.
Trumbetta described the couple as quiet and friendly. She said she had never heard fighting or any type of disturbance from their home.
“If I hadn't been home to experience this, I never would have believed this,” Trumbetta said.
Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro was present for Ryan's arraignment.
“Firing at state troopers is obviously a very scary situation,” he said afterward.
Ryan remains in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.
Renatta Signorini and Jewels Phraner are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Signorini can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com. Phraner can be reached at 724-850-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writer Paul Peirce contributed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Kovacevic: Still waiting on Malkin, Crosby
- Rossi: Lack of together time showing for Penguins’ defense
- Fleury a bright spot among struggling Penguins in playoffs
- Change in kidney allocation rules expected to help patients
- Pastors offer help in days following Franklin Regional stabbings
- Gov. Corbett’s re-election campaign ‘unflappable’ amid challenges, criticism
- Bedford County lawmaker’s mailings to potential new constituents under fire
- Talent on ice, effort off it help franchise grow hockey in Columbus
- Murrysville woman shares her many tales as a professional storyteller
- Blue Jackets, city relish first playoff victory