Wednesday’s police standoff with an armed man inside his Jackson Township home took nine hours to resolve, left several neighbors without electricity for four hours and left a gaping hole in the front of the man’s house.
But the mission was labeled a success by police, who reported no injury to officers or the man holed up inside his home.
That’s the bottom line, said Porter County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Larry LaFlower.
“In any scene, our main goal is no one is hurt or killed — (police) or suspects or victims,” LaFlower said. “So, we know we know it was a long and methodical scene, but everything was done in the interest of everyone coming out of it alive and safe.”
Police went to the home in the 300 east block of County Road 1050 North about noon after receiving a report Eric Martin, 45, had struck and cut his father with a knife. Police said they also had commitment papers signed by Judge William Alexa.
When police arrived with a key provided by a family member, an officer entered but the door was slammed on him by Martin, who told police he had a gun.
Police said Martin fired shots from the house from a long gun. The exact type of gun was not yet known, LaFlower said Thursday.
The Porter County sheriff’s tactical team tried several methods to get Martin to leave the house, LaFlower said.
It repeated asked Martin to surrender.
LaFlower said communication was difficult because there was no phone in the home, and Martin did not have a cellphone. Because they were being shot at by Martin, the tactical team could not get close enough to put a portable phone in the home, police said.
The team used CS gas, which causes tearing and a burning sensation in the eyes and throat.
LaFlower said the electricity and gas were turned off in the area, meaning power was cut to several homes in the neighborhood.
When officers could not determine where Martin was, two separate robots equipped with video cameras and lights were used to enter the home.
The robots helped clear most of the house, without requiring officers to go inside, LaFlower said.
When officers had narrowed down which room Martin was in, tactical officers “breached” the window, pulling the window, frame and part of the surround wall away from the house.
With a large hole in the side of the house, tactical officer used a long pole to try to open the closet. While doing so, Martin reached out of the closet and shut the door. More CS gas was deployed, but Martin still would not voluntarily leave.
Police broke down the closet door from a distance with a stream of water using a fire hose.
Once police could see Martin, a tactical officer pelted him with “less lethal ammunition,” LaFlower said.
LaFlower said officers then were able to take Martin into custody.
He was rinsed off at the scene, LaFlower said, to remove the CS gas from his skin.
He was then taken to Porter Regional Hospital to be medically cleared and then taken to Porter County Jail.
Charges are pending against Martin while police continued to gather evidence Thursday at the man’s home. He was being held at the jail on “prosecutorial probable cause,” LaFlower said.
Formal charges are expected to be filed Friday.
His booking at the jail was significantly delayed as Martin refused to cooperate with jail staff.
LaFlower said the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department was especially helpful, remaining at the scene the entire time, ready to react in case of a fire and provided equipment to breach the window and the fire hose used to break down the closet door.