Standoff in Westmoreland ends when police use tear gas
By Renatta Signorini and Jewels Phraner
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:56 a.m.
A standoff in Westmoreland County ended peacefully Wednesday morning after state police used tear gas to get a suicidal man to leave his home.
Trooper Steve Limani said police were called to a home at the intersection of Route 982 and Mennonite Camp Road in Mt. Pleasant Township at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after a man had threatened to take his life. Police said the man's son called the state police barracks.
“The guy had weapons in his house” and refused to come out, Limani said.
Police cleared the scene around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday after using tear gas to get the man to come outside, Limani said.
Neighbors said they awoke at about 11 p.m. Tuesday when they heard police trying to coax the man outside using a bullhorn, said Marybeth Stouffer, who lives next door.
“They told us to keep the lights off and try to stay downstairs,” Stouffer said.
At about 3 a.m., Stouffer said, she saw SWAT team members surrounding the house.
“We knew something was going to happen,” she said. “They kept asking him to come out, but he wouldn't.”
Stouffer said at daylight she heard several pops and then saw the man come out on his front stoop with a towel over his mouth.
“Police came through the back of his house and then apprehended him on his stoop. They took him down on the front yard,” Stouffer said. “I'm just glad it ended without anyone getting hurt.”
Police did not release the identity of the man, who was taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg.
Limani said he does not expect charges to be filed.
Neighbor Don Sherbondy said the man was quiet.
“He was hermit-like — pretty much stayed indoors,” Sherbondy said.
Sherbondy said he grew up in the house where the incident took place.
“It's a shame they had to shoot (tear gas) at the house,” he said. “It's sad to see something like this happen.”
Homeowner Bill Sherbondy said the man has lived alone in the rented house for the past year.
“He was friendly, but he has a short fuse,” Bill Sherbondy said.
He said the man had some serious health issues.
“Between that and some financial problems, I guess things just started piling up,” he said.
Renatta Signorini and Jewels Phraner are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Signorini can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Phraner can be reached at 724-850-1218 or email@example.com.
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