Police 'outgunned' in raid on Beaver County arsenal
The U.S. Attorney's Office will be consulted to determine if federal charges will be filed against two Beaver County men arrested over the weekend in a house police said was filled with guns, ammunition and explosives.
Meanwhile, the chief of the tiny police force in rural Franklin is pondering the luck of his officers and himself in surviving the encounter in which they were "outgunned."
Dean Alan Huzinec, 47, the resident of the Fire Street house, and his friend, Dean Timothy Eakin, 43, remained in the Beaver County Jail Monday.
Huzinec faces weapons and drug charges, while Eakin is charged with conspiracy and a weapons charge. They are scheduled for preliminary hearings Monday at the Beaver County Courthouse.
The pair were arrested early Sunday morning when police executed a search warrant. A Franklin officer had gone to Huzinec's house Saturday night looking for Eakin, who had been reported missing. The officer found a stolen handgun in the house and learned both men are convicted felons who are prohibited from having guns.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized 15 guns, along with suspected explosives and explosive devices that are being analyzed, said Special Agent John Hageman. He could not say how much ammunition was seized.
The U.S. Attorney's Office will be consulted when the investigation is complete, Hageman said.
Computers in the house were also being searched. Franklin police said they expect to file more charges.
Franklin police Chief Robert E. Morrison said he does not know why Huzinec had amassed such an arsenal, which included assault weapons, hand grenades, a homemade bazooka, black powder, body armor and police uniforms and identification.
Police said the house was ringed with video and audio surveillance, and that Huzinec was carrying a loaded .357-caliber revolver when police arrested him.
"I do know if he wanted to kill us, he could've killed us," Morrison said. "Thank God they didn't shoot. We were outgunned. We don't own assault rifles. My men showed up with .40-caliber handguns. That doesn't work well against a person with an assault rifle."
Morrison said he intends to talk with Franklin supervisors about improving the armament available to himself and his seven officers. "We have to have what the bad guys have," he said.
Amy Seybert, 31, the girlfriend of Huzinec's nephew, said Huzinec is a nice guy and simply a gun collector. She said she wasn't aware of his prior offenses that prohibit him from possessing guns, and doubted anyone in the family knew how much he had.
"I'm thinking in all honesty he just liked to collect guns, like people collect figurines," said Seybert, of Ellwood City. "A lot of people collect guns. That doesn't make them evil."
Seybert said there was an explanation for the surveillance systems: Huzinec had a job installing them.
"They're making it seem more than it was. That was his job. It comes to reason he would have that equipment," she said.