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Ellsworth standoff suspect arraigned

| Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, 12:06 a.m.
Joe Cunningham

An Ellsworth man who allegedly forced his way into an ex-girlfriend's home and caused a nearly 19-hour standoff with police was sent to jail Sunday after he was treated and released from the hospital.

Joe Carl Cunningham, 28, was arraigned at 12:15 p.m. Sunday before Magisterial District Judge James Ellis and remanded to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 straight cash bond.

He was charged with single counts of burglary and criminal mischief and two counts each of aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Cunningham is accused of entering the Oak Street home of his ex-girlfriend 4 p.m. Friday and exchanging gunfire with the woman's current live-in boyfriend. State police said Cunningham suffered a gunshot wound to his upper arm that was not life-threatening.

Cunningham's ex-girlfriend and current boyfriend, whom state police did not indentify, purportedly escaped the house Friday and called 911. A 15-year-old girl that remained in the home was able to escape at some point overnight, police said.

Cunningham remained inside, keeping police and SWAT team members at bay, before finally surrendering peacefully around 11 a.m. Saturday.

He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment.

Cunningham's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 28 before Magisterial District Judge Curtis Thompson of Bentleyville.

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