STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Police took a man in custody Monday evening after they said he held four young children hostage inside a Struthers home for nearly four and a half hours.
Police were able to rescue those children, who came out in officers’ arms. One, who was visibly upset, was brought out and placed on a stretcher. Another was carried out in a baby seat.
Officers from multiple departments and the Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team surrounded the house on Eighth Street in Struthers. For hours, they tried to get 39-year-old Sean Dixson to come out of it.
“Refused to answer any phone calls, refused all of our commands,” said Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy.
He said it all started when Dixson got into a fight with his wife, which escalated to him chasing her with a stick or branch.
When officers arrived at the scene, police said Dixson hit a cruiser. Officers tased him, but he ran back inside the house and later appeared in the doorway with a gun.
“There were four young children in the house. The guy, the suspect, kept peering in the windows, yelling and screaming,” Roddy said.
The crisis team tried negotiating with Dixson, urging him to let the kids out of the house. Finally, officers were able to breach the door and get the children out. Officers shot pepper spray into the house and searched room by room to find Dixson.
He was on the second floor of the house, which police said made their job more difficult.
“He was not injured, but combative, when he was arrested,” Roddy said.
Dixson was taken to the hospital.
Police said no bullets were fired during the standoff, though they did shoot bean bags at the house to break the windows.
A neighbor who lives a few doors down, said she’s never seen the people involved.
“I didn’t know they had kids. I have never seen anybody go in and out of the house ever. I don’t even know if the kids go to school,” said.
She stayed in her house the entire time, but said she wasn’t concerned about her safety.
“I was more scared for the little kids.”
A portion of the street was blocked, and some residents were not able to get to their homes Monday night.
Neighbors stayed behind the yellow police tape, watching everything play out. When the situation finally ended, they started clapping and thanked officers who walked by.
“What these guys do, God bless them,” Shawn Carson said. “They risk their lives to help us every day and I have great respect for them.”
Police said they’ve had calls at this house and local businesses. They said Dixson may have mental health issues.
Dixson will remain in the hospital until police and prosecutors decide on where the case will go.
“He does have some health issues unrelated to the incident that occurred last night, so we’re kind of at the mercer of the doctors there,” Chief Roddy said.
Officers plan on interviewing the kids and said the woman Dixson was arguing with has been helpful in the investigation.
This story corrects the number of children brought out of the home.