EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - East Cleveland Police released details of the SWAT standoff that went on for nearly 15 hours after a man shot a manager with a rifle before barricading himself in a room at a Euclid Avenue motel on Thursday.
Chief Scott Gardner said the standoff happened around 1:45 p.m. at Nobel Motel when the manager called officers after he was threatened by a tenant he was trying to evict.
The manager was shot in the hand by a rifle, but suffered a “minor injury,” Chief Gardner said.
The chief said officers became aware that there were “many small children” inside the daycare directly across the street from the motel, and there were several tenants from the motel that were displaced.
Police called the RTA which generously sent two buses: one that stayed close to the scene with displaced motel guests and the other to take the children to a secure location for their parents and guardians to pick them up, according to the chief.
“We cannot thank RTA Police and the RTA enough bus service for their assistance with this,” Chief Gardner said.
Chief Gardner said officers arrived and called for the East Cleveland SWAT unit, which tried to talk to the tenant by throwing a cell phone up to his room.
However, he threw the phone out the back window, the chief said.
The chief said SWAT tried to talk to the man for several hours, but he refused.
So, SWAT used various techniques, from CS gas to pepper spray to force him out of his room, according to the chief.
But by then, he had already barricaded himself in the bathroom, Chief Gardner said.
Chief Gardner said the man began randomly firing at officers, who then returned fire.
SWAT then called the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office for assistance, the chief said.
Two deputies came with a robotic camera that was sent into the room and saw the man armed with a rifle in one hand and a machete in the other, Chief Gardner said.
According to the chief, there were “multiple encounters of the man shooting at SWAT and SWAT returning fire.
The man started communicating with SWAT Negotiators around 2:30 a.m., and finally surrendered about two hours later, the chief said.
Chief Gardner said the man was taken to the hospital where he was treated for minor wounds before he was sent to the jail.
“Members of the East Cleveland Police Department exercised great restraint. The situation could have turned out very differently,” Chief Gardner said.