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Post office gunman call was a hoax, chief says



Published: Mon, July 30, 2007 @ 9:15 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Police Chief Jimmy Hughes says it appears a report of a gunman shooting out a downtown post office window was a hoax.

There were three calls made on Monday, alleging that robberies were occurring, including at the post office. All turned out to be false, he said.

An arrest of a North Side person was made related to the last two calls police received, and they are investigating whether this individual is tied to the first call at the post office.

Dozens of police officers and police cars were sent to the main post office around 6 p.m., after being told a man with a gun tried to pull off a robbery, and that a shot was fired out a window.

Youngstown and Mahoning County Sheriff's officers searched the vast facility.

Police needed to determine if they had a standoff situation, and whether a gunman was inside of the post office. A Vindicator reporter and photographer also were on the scene.

About three dozen postal employees were evacuated from the building, held in the parking lot on the building's west side for about an hour, and then allowed to cross Front Street to the Chevrolet Centre lot. They were not permitted to speak to the press.

Later, police and postal inspectors were conferring outside the building.

The police had been told a man wearing a red shirt and blue pants fired a shot through the window, gaining access to an area where only employees normally go. Police did say that all employees who were working appeared to be accounted for.

A police dog unit was brought in for the search of the building. Officers armed with rifles were scouring the rooftops and peering over the edge.

The police had the building surrounded and Walnut Street was partially blocked off.


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