MARIETTA - A Marietta man is facing up to 11 years in prison on an attempted aggravated murder charge after firing shots at police during a standoff at his Spring Street home Thursday morning, officials said.
No one was hurt during the incident, but 53-year-old William Bruce Ransom Jr. is being charged with attempted aggravated murder, which is a first-degree felony, according to Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
Ransom is scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. today in Marietta Municipal Court.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Marietta resident William B. Ransom Jr. fired shots at officers Thursday morning from the second-story window of his Spring Street home, pictured above, police said. About a half dozen windows on the top floor were broken, a neighbor said.
William Bruce Ransom Jr.
Officers were called to Ransom's home at 140 E. Spring St. around 12:15 a.m., Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite said.
"His wife called the ambulance. He was threatening to hurt himself," said Sgt. Greg Nohe, a detective with the Marietta Police Department.
The man had ingested pills, said Waite, and because he was reportedly suicidal, officers accompanied EMTs from the Marietta Fire Department into the home.
The man had not threatened to harm himself with a gun at that point, but his wife, Susan Ransom, told responding officers he had a shotgun and other firearms with him where he was barricaded on the second floor of the home, said Waite.
When officers yelled up the stairs trying to convince William to come down, he fired at them, said Waite.
"At that point he shot through the floor two times. They were shotgun shots," he said.
No one was hit, Waite said.
The officers, EMTs and Susan Ransom left the house. Officers formed a perimeter outside the home and called for reinforcement from the Washington County Sheriff's Office and its Special Response Team and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Officers notified neighbors within a sight line of Ransom's home of the threat by knocking on doors and evacuated neighbors.
Next-door neighbor Robert Hune-Kalter, 25, said he and his family were told to evacuate shortly before 1 a.m.
"I heard a 'pop pop' and I looked out the window and there was an ambulance here and a cruiser there," said Hune-Kalter.
His father is Marietta City Councilman Roger Kalter. Kalter said he was awakened by his son who said police wanted them out of the house. Kalter and his wife had just returned home from out of town, he said.
"We evacuated to a friend's house a block away," Kalter said.
After the Special Response Team arrived, Ransom fired a couple more shots out of the front second-story windows of his home, said Waite.
After that, Ransom stopped shooting and Maj. Brian Schuck with the sheriff's office acted as a negotiator, trying to talk Ransom into voluntarily coming out of the home.
As it neared dawn and Ransom still refused to exit, getting him out of the home became more pressing and it was decided tear gas would be used, said Waite.
"About this time, as we're getting the tear gas ready, he started firing out of the front and back windows. He's shooting at our officers about once every two or three minutes," he said.
At that point, Marietta Police sent out a phone message to more residents in the neighborhood warning them to stay indoors, said Waite.
At least one bullet hit a tree an officer was standing behind and it's unclear what else was hit, he said.
Sheriff Larry Mincks said Ransom possibly hit the armored vehicle, a Peacekeeper built on the chassis of a 1978 Dodge truck.
Ransom fired upon the vehicle as it approached the house to deploy the tear gas, Waite said.
The vehicle, which is set to be replaced in early 2014 by two new armored vehicles, experienced significant difficulties during the excursion, said Mincks.
"It stalled numerous times," he said.
However, the SRT was able to deploy tear gas by shooting it through the upstairs window shortly after 5 a.m., he said.
After the tear gas was deployed, "It wasn't too long before he came to the front door and they were able to talk him out without incident," said Waite.
The incident concluded around 5:20 a.m. with Ransom's arrest. Officers and an investigator with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation remained on scene until Thursday afternoon and the street remained closed throughout the day.
The BCI investigator was "gathering evidence from a crime scene," said Waite.
Ransom was not intoxicated and as yet there is no reason for what prompted the incident, Waite said.
Ransom is being held without bond at the Washington County Jail and corrections officers have him on a suicide watch, said Mincks.
Around 25 police officers, deputies and Highway Patrol troopers responded.