Man who shot at cops in trouble again

SALEM – A Salem area man who shot at police officers during a standoff 10 years ago found himself in trouble again with police after an incident Thursday afternoon required the use of a taser to subdue him.

Andrew P. Swetye, 49, of 1318 E. State St., was charged with assault on a police officer and failure to comply, both felonies, along with resisting arrest, left of center and a stop sign violation following a short pursuit from the Smith Oil parking lot, along East State Street and up Rose Avenue to East Third Street.

Salem Police were dispatched to Smith Oil, 968 E. State St., at 2:59 p.m. for a suspicious person in a red GMC vehicle. An employee said she felt like the person was casing the business and had been driving around the parking lot for the past half hour.

Patrolman Brad Davis arrived and found the vehicle parked facing south in the parking lot near Rose Avenue, pulling behind it and activating the overhead emergency lights. He approached the driver side of the vehicle to make contact with the driver when the driver rolled his window down and said he didn’t want to talk with him and began driving forward.

Davis continued to approach and told him to place the vehicle in park and keep his hands visible, but the driver then swerved in his direction and began driving recklessly through the parking lot, pulling onto East State Street via the entrance near Ohio Avenue in front of an oncoming vehicle and nearly causing a crash.

The driver continued to travel west on East State Street on the center line when another officer came behind him with lights and siren activated. Davis pulled out behind the red GMC with the lights and siren activated and the driver turned right onto Rose Avenue.

The report said the driver was traveling left of center and passed a truck while approaching the intersection at Third Street and did not attempt to stop at the stop sign, striking an eastbound Chevy Silverado driven by Jerald Cope, 63, of Winona Road. Officers quickly approached and the driver, later identified as Swetye, would not follow verbal commands and was pulled from the vehicle and placed face down on the street for handcuffing. He continued to resist and not follow verbal commands, with Davis and Lt. Don Beeson using a taser to attempt to gain control.

Even after he was handcuffed, he allegedly struggled while being placed in the back of a cruiser to be taken to the police department for booking. He continued to struggle after arriving and was taken directly to the Columbiana County jail by Davis and Sgt. J.T. Panezott.

Cope and a passenger were listed with possible injuries, but were not transported to the hospital.

In December 2002, Swetye was committed to what’s now known as Heartland Behavioral Healthcare in Massillon after a Common Pleas Court judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting, ruling he was suffering from mental illness at the time.

He had been charged for two counts of felonious assault for firing shots in September 2002 at a Perry Township police officer and a Salem police officer while barricaded in his home on Depot Road just outside the city limits. The officers involved were Salem Police Sgt. John Scheets and then Perry Township Patrolman now Chief Mike Emigh.

Since his initial commitment, Swetye has been in and out of the hospital and was most recently released from commitment in November, according to online court records.

A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 14 in county Municipal Court on the latest set of charges.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at