Written by Eric Wise
Humidity was thick in the air as about 10 people gathered along Spruce Street late Saturday night, trying to see what was going on. Many lit cigarettes, with the smoke hanging like smog in the misty night drizzle.
It was about 11 p.m. Oct. 1 — at least two hours after police responded to the area and word leaked out online that a man had pointed a gun at himself or a female companion in one of the mobile homes nestled across the street from American Legion Post 594 on East High Street. No one was sure what was going on in the 100 block of the street.
It wasn’t until hours later that officials confirmed an armed man was taken into custody after a dispute with someone else in the mobile home — with a shot fired. No one was injured.
There were tense moments before the incident was resolved, however. Three State Police troopers kept perimeter watch from the parking lot of the American Legion, where the hill gave them a good vantage point. They were sending people away from the area around the American Legion.
Police cars with lights flashing blocked High Street at the Spruce Street and Pine Street intersections. High Street was quiet, except for chatter among the small group, whose members came and went on Spruce Street, trying to find out more and then retreating from the chilly mist.
A Hummelstown police officer, carrying a rifle, stood at the ready on Hoffman Avenue, behind the group of eight mobile homes that line a private driveway that connects High Street and Hoffman Avenue.
Police had a mobile command post, with Chief John Bey and Sgt. Richard Hiester, set up at Oak Hills Park, but they were not taking questions from the media or providing updates.
The incident had begun hours earlier, at 7:30 p.m. when the residents summoned emergency medical help for an older man with heart attack symptoms, Bey said. The EMS crew requested police support when a man, believed to be the son or son-in-law of the man with heart trouble, threatened to shoot himself with a gun.
When police arrived, the man moved into a back room of the home. Police requested help from other departments in the area, and several responded, including Pennsylvania State Police, Hummelstown, Lower Swatara Township, Steelton, Highspire and the Dauphin County Crisis Response Team. Police blocked High Street and asked that residents allow them to resolve the situation at about 9 p.m., as the standoff began.
Another EMS crew arrived around 11 p.m. and donned helmets and flak jackets, and stood at the ready, conferring briefly with the troopers in the parking lot.
They walked down toward the mobile homes, disappearing into the darkness.
Around 11:35 p.m. onlookers heard police issuing orders with a megaphone. By 11:38, a man’s screaming answered the megaphone, which barked back.
A shot or pop was heard at 11:40 p.m., followed by silence. One onlooker said, “That was two shots.” Others were not so sure. But the screaming and the megaphone both stopped.
Police later confirmed only one shot fired.
“He shot right through a closed window shade and through the window,” Bey said. “The round impacted his yard. There were officers in and around that area.”
Within a few minutes, someone moved an ambulance to High Street in front of the mobile homes, removed the litter and wheeled it to the scene. A few minutes later, the litter was loaded back in the ambulance, empty. The ambulance left, followed by the State Police and police cars from Hummelstown, Lower Swatara Township and Highspire, as if the incident had been resolved.
Middletown Mayor James Curry posted online after midnight that the incident had been resolved without any injuries and a suspect was in custody.
Bey confirmed the man with heart trouble and the shooter’s wife were safety removed.
The man was taken into custody and will receive psychiatric help, Bey said. He was uncertain of what led the man to firing a shot or barricading himself in the home.
“He was in some kind of heated verbal exchange with his spouse,” Bey said. “I don’t know what the subject matter was.”
Bey refused to release the name of the man involved, and said they have not filed charges. He said police are conferring with the district attorney’s office about whether charges should be filed regarding the shot fired through the window of the home.
Reporter Dan Miller contributed to this story.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 09:45
Police took a man into custody following an investigation into shots being fired at the Beechwood Building in the Village of Pineford just before 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept 17.
A decision on whether to charge the man is to be made in consultation with the Dauphin County District Attorney's office, based in part on results of a psychiatric evaluation of the man, according to an incident report provided by Middletown police.
No one was hurt in the incident. However, several bullet holes were found in the apartment of the suspect, and two rounds were believed to have travelled through the walls into another adjoining apartment in the building, police said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 15:40
The intersection of Ann and South Union streets in Middletown will be closed to traffic starting Monday, Oct. 3, for up to four weeks as part of the downtown streetscape project, borough officials say.
A detour will be posted. However, borough officials have said the detour route will follow Wood Street and then proceed left onto State Street and follow left onto Union, and then eventually over the bridge going into Royalton.
Councilor Dawn Knull has expressed concern as the route will detour tractor trailers and other traffic that use Route 441 past four school bus stops.
Motorists using the detour are asked to proceed with caution and watch for children and school buses.
Knull has also asked that borough police step up their presence in the area during the detour.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 15:30
Written by Eric Wise
Londonderry Township residents are wondering why “no parking” signs have bloomed, seemingly overnight, at locations in the township — 25 years after an ordinance was passed to authorize them.
Township supervisors passed an ordinance in 1991 that banned parking along 31 streets in the township, including 26 dead-ends or culs-de-sac.
“It’s been 25 years and now the signs are up,” said Steve Fulton, who questioned township supervisors Sept. 6 about the need to ban parking along Hillcrest Drive. He represented about 10 residents in attendance at the meeting with his remarks.
The supervisors responded to the residents’ concerns by agreeing to review the streets where parking is prohibited.
Fulton said the ban, which extends the entire length of Hillcrest Drive, will create a real problem when residents have several guests, especially on holidays, if they cannot have everyone park in their driveways.
“It hasn’t been an issue in 25 years,” he said.
Steve Letavic, township manager, said the reason for putting up the signs now was simple: “Our public works director looked at the ordinance and realized they should have been posted.”
Public works crews began posting the signs about a month ago, he said. He was unsure how many signs have been posted.
Supervisor Mel Hershey said it was done for emergency vehicles. He said in a township without public water, culs-de-sac must be kept clear so firetrucks and tanker trucks will be able to maneuver unobstructed.
Twenty-five years ago, Hershey said he advised the supervisors regarding fire safety in creating the ordinance. He said the township originally worked with residents to keep these areas open for emergency vehicles instead of posting signs.
Since years have passed since the ordinance was approved, Letavic said it is time the township study the situation to determine where parking should be limited.
“The board agreed to revisit this issue with the assistance of the zoning and codes officer, public works director and township engineer,” Letavic said. “The township will review all streets in the township with no parking regulations to determine appropriateness.”
The township did agree to temporarily remove signs from the street leading to the culs-de-sac (where the street widens to accommodate turn-arounds), while the issue was under review.
Areas affected by signage are Autumnwood Road, Cedar Avenue, Cola Road, Dogwood Lane, Elwood Lane, Geyers Church Road (both dead ends), Heather Avenue, Hickory Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Houser Road, Ivy Drive, Crepes Road, Laugher Road, Laurel Drive, Locust Lane, London Avenue, Maple Acres Road, Mill Road, Naegle Road, Oakview Circle, Old Farm Lane, Red Hill Drive, Reservoir Road, Sunset Avenue (both dead ends)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 15:18
Written by Eric Wise
Anne Shambaugh will end her employment as Lower Swatara Township manager Sept. 30, exactly 10 months after her hire.
Asked about her reasons for resigning and future plans, Shambaugh said, “I will take some time off and look at my options.”
Commissioners voted Wednesday, Sept. 21, to accept the resignation of Shambaugh, who started as township manager on Dec. 1, 2015, one day after Commissioners Tom Mehaffie and Jon Wilt presented previous manager Sam Monticello with a letter ending his employment.
Asked whether Shambaugh had been requested to resign, Tom Mehaffie, president of the commissioners, said: “No, she gave her resignation. She’s moving on.”
Mehaffie thanked Shambaugh and praised her efforts that made a positive impact on the township.
“I had a fantastic time,” Shambaugh said at the meeting when her resignation was discussed. “I want to thank the commissioners for allowing me to work with the township and residents.”
Shambaugh had been appointed with a salary of $92,000, according to the terms of employment in a letter dated Nov. 17, 2015. The same letter specified that Shambaugh would be reviewed by the board of commissioners by March 31 and Sept. 30, 2016.
The commissioners temporarily had named Shambaugh the interim manager following Monticello’s dismissal. Three weeks after his last day, Monticello agreed to “resign” to accept the severance package offered by the township.
Shambaugh left her post as borough manager in Camp Hill to take the Lower Swatara job. She had worked for the borough since 2005, serving as manager from January 2014 to November 2015.
She follows Monticello and Harry Krot, who each served the township for less than two years. Following Krot’s resignation, the manager job was vacant for about a year.
The board has not announced its plans for filling the position. Frank Williamson, director of public safety and assistant township manager, will temporarily assume the manager’s duties, Mehaffie said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 15:10