Columbiana departments work together to help disturbed man

COLUMBIANA – A concerned neighbor, a veteran police officer, his colleagues and fire and electric crews working side by side saved a North Bayshore Drive man Sunday.

Police Chief Tim Gladis told City Council Tuesday the police, fire and electric departments spent roughly four hours at the man’s home after responding to what was originally reported as a burglary in progress.

He said the man’s neighbor called 911 after seeing him standing on the roof of his home screaming someone was inside and trying to kill him.

Once on scene, police determined the 45-year-old was having a “severe mental disturbance,” he said. The man had climbed onto the roof through his bedroom window and police found no one inside the home.

He was not under the influence of any drugs and has no prior criminal or mental history, Gladis added.

“We believed he was about to jump. After about three hours of negotiation we were able to talk him down,” he said.

The chief credited veteran police Sgt. Jim Ewing with calming the man enough for him to come down off the roof using the fire truck ladder.

Ewing has 30 years police experience and Gladis said he put all of that experience to work during the standoff.

“If you’ve ever been on these (calls) it’s a very scary situation. That takes a lot of brass,” he said of Ewing talking the man down off the roof.

Officer Tim Yoder was also involved with calming the man, and the chief credited him and all others at the scene that evening.

The call came in at 6:29 p.m. and in addition to the city departments Beaver Township police also responded.

“It was a very cooperative effort,” Gladis said.

City Manager Lance Willard said the chief already personally thanked each department in a written letter. He added it is “rare” the electric department responds to police calls and thanked them for cooperating.

Gladis explained the electric department was requested in order to have all available resources on hand. The department responded with a bucket truck, although it was not used.

Once the man was on the ground police spent another hour negotiating with him regarding a voluntary mental evaluation or arrest.

“He chose the arrest route,” Gladis said, but the choice wasn’t adhered to willingly. “He resisted at first but we had enough people there” to detain him.

No weapons or tasers were used in the process and he was charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the Mahoning County jail, Gladis said.

He also said the disorderly conduct charge is given to those causing annoying inconvenience and/or alarm to the public.

The Columbiana EMS department also responded as is customary with these types of calls.

Council members and Mayor David Spatholt praised the departments for their efforts.