By Ed Runyan
A 46-year-old man “despondent over a family matter” put a shotgun in his mouth and threatened to pull the trigger as Warren police stood by late Friday.
Paul Mazerik of 914 Hunter St. NW held the gun in that position in the front doorway of his house, then “slammed the door and went in the house,” a neighbor said of the incident that began at 11:30 p.m. and didn’t end until 6 a.m. Saturday.
Mazerik surrendered to police, but only after the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force SWAT Team arrived to assist the 20 to 30 officers from various departments already there, neighbors said.
Mazerik was taken to a local hospital for observation and had not been charged as of Saturday afternoon, Warren police said.
Ryan Goncz, who lives up the street from Mazerik, said it’s the second time Mazerik’s gunplay brought police to his house. He fired off a weapon at 9:45 p.m. July 22 and was charged with using weapons while intoxicated, according to court and police records.
The charge was amended Nov. 1 to discharging firearms, and he was sentenced in Warren Municipal Court to two years’ probation. Warren police were ordered to destroy the weapons they seized in July, but the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office was ordered to return Mazerik’s permit to carry concealed weapons, court records say.
“He scared the [heck] out of my son,” Goncz said of the July incident, adding that a neighbor circulated a petition afterward asking that Mazerik not be allowed to live on Hunter Street anymore.
Goncz said he predicted Warren would have a standoff soon after seeing in the news 10 days ago that a standoff had occurred on Ohio Avenue in Youngstown — the fourth area standoff in three weeks.
“All the money for the officers who came out here is coming out of my tax money we could be using for roads and safe parks for the kids to play in,” Goncz said.
One neighbor estimated that 20 to 30 officers from several departments were present. Officers from Howland, Warren and Austintown townships assisted Warren police, one witness said.
“A lot of cops were saying it was ridiculous,” said Tiffanne Goncz, Ryan’s wife. “For 61/2 hours they were standing out in the cold.”
Ryan Goncz said the SWAT team, officers who are armed with protective equipment, seemed to change Mazerik’s attitude.
“When the SWAT team arrived, that’s when it ended. When they were about to move in, he came out.”
Sgt. Michael Albanese of the Warren Police Department said Warren Patrolman Doug Hipple also helped bring Mazerik out by using his training as a hostage negotiator. “He talked the guy into putting down the guns and walking out,” Albanese said.
Albanese, the turn commander Saturday afternoon, said the incident stemmed from a “family matter” but that he wasn’t working at the time it happened and didn’t know many details.
According to court records, Mazerik was approved to write bail bonds for ACE Bonding and AA Worldwide Bail Bonding in June 2010. Neighbors said they think he no longer does that kind of work.
Tamara Mazerik filed for divorce from Paul Mazerik on June 20, 2011. The next hearing in the divorce is set for Jan. 19 in Trumbull County Family Court.