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PERRY TOWNSHIP Man accused of firing at cops



Published: Mon, September 9, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man shot twice at law enforcement officers, authorities say.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- A 39-year-old Perry Township man is undergoing mental evaluation this week after shooting at law enforcement officers during a weekend standoff, authorities said.

Andrew Swetye, of 1201 Depot Road, is charged with felonious assault.

Swetye fired two shots in the officers' direction during a nearly four-hour confrontation, officials said. No one was hit by gunfire.

How it began

The situation began to unfold about 10 a.m. Saturday, when Swetye's brother asked police to check on him because Swetye, who was single and lived alone, had called and said he believed someone was shooting at him, township Police Chief Ray Stone said today.

When the officer arrived, Swetye shot at him from the upstairs window of his home, a former commercial building, authorities said.

The officer requested backup, which included Salem police and Columbiana County deputy sheriffs.

About 11 a.m., Swetye fired a second shot in officers' direction.

Officers did not return fire.

During the standoff, Swetye's family members were called to the scene and talked to him by megaphone, trying to persuade him to surrender.

Got him outside

Eventually, Swetye's brother, Bill Swetye of Salem, persuaded him to go outside for a cigarette.

When Swetye emerged, unarmed, his brother grabbed him and was joined by law enforcement officers, who subdued him.

Swetye was not injured being taken into custody.

He spent part of the weekend in the county jail before being taken to a facility in Massillon to undergo evaluation, Stone said.

While searching the house after the confrontation, they found a .410-gauge shotgun that Swetye had used to fire at them; he also had a 16-gauge shotgun, a muzzleloader, an antique bolt-action rifle and a long bow with 35 arrows, Stone said.

The house's interior also contained several gallons of gasoline and kerosene and a beaver trap, which was set to spring inside a closet.

Previous calls

Stone said police had been called to Swetye's residence several times in the days before the standoff, when he complained someone was shooting at him.

Police could find no evidence of shots' being fired at Swetye.

A mental health counselor spoke to Swetye over the telephone last week in the days before the standoff and advised police to give Swetye time to settle down, after which an attempt could be made to provide mental health services to him, Stone explained.




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