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Standoff ends in Stow: Gunman gives up after nine-hour faceoff with police

By Micah Panczykand Diane SmithRecord-Courier st Published: December 13, 1997 12:00 AM

Robert A. Ashley surrendered to police shortly before 9 p.m., after spending nine hours alone inside his parents' two-story home at 4391 Maple Park Road, where he had threatened to kill himself and anyone who entered the home.

Police evacuated several homes in the residential neighborhood, which is located off of Fishcreek Road on Stow's northeast side, as the standoff dragged on throughout the afternoon and into the evening hours until police and members of the Summit County Critical Response and Rescue Team began firing three rounds of rubber pellets against the house just after 8:30 p.m.

Ashley, 48, emerged from the home and police took him into custody. He was taken to the Stow Police Department, where a spokesperson said he was to be booked Friday night.

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Ashley could be charged with a misdemeanor count of inducing public panic, according to Police Chief Robert Tilton.

"The turning point was when we began escalating noise to increase the stress factor," Tilton said after the standoff ended. "We wanted to jar him a little bit ... let him know this couldn't go on forever ... that he had to act eventually. I imagine this is what brought him out."

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Prior to firing the rounds, police began issuing orders over a microphone, shining lights in the windows and throwing snowballs in effort to frazzle Ashley's nerves, he said.

The escalation was initiated after hours of telephone negotiations failed to resolve the standoff, which began shortly after Ashley's mother called Stow police before noon and said her son had threatened to commit suicide, Tilton said.

Ashley allegedly was armed with two handguns, a rifle and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, he said. Possession of a single handgun had been confirmed Friday night.

Shortly after the standoff began, police blocked off the area surrounding the house, and an ambulance was standing by. Telephone negotiations with Ashley were established by a Stow police officer and then transferred to the Critical Response and Rescue Team.

Neighbors standing along the sidewalk on nearby Maplehurst Drive Friday afternoon said they did not know Ashley and had no idea why he would initiate such a standoff. Later in the evening, others who said they were acquaintances of Ashley arrived at the scene but declined comment.

Teresa Paulus, an area resident, said she had to pick up her children from school Friday because school buses would not go through the neighborhood. She also had to take a different route home because police cars were blocking the road.

"It's usually quiet around here," she said. "Nothing happens, nothing goes on."

Ashley had been involved in a traffic accident Thursday night in Silver Lake and his vehicle was taken by Silver Lake police Friday morning, Tilton said.

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