Man surrenders after several-hour standoff in Berlin Center

BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WYTV) – A man surrendered after an eight-and-a-half-hour standoff in Berlin Township early Monday morning.

He hasn’t been charged yet so WKBN 27 First News is not identifying the man at this point.

Investigators said the standoff started after police received a call around 12:45 a.m. for a suicidal man. They said he threatened to shoot any officer who approached and that he had a rifle in the house on State Route 534 in Berlin Center.

“He had made comments about potentially wanting to be killed by a police officer,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.

By around 1:30 a.m., the county’s SWAT and Crisis Response teams responded. They set up a perimeter to keep truck and commuter traffic out of the area.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and local police closed off the large area involving two major routes. Those roads have since reopened.

Investigators said the man was alone but there was a woman living in the adjoining unit. A SWAT team had to evacuate that woman, as well as people from the house across the street.

“So when [the neighbor] put her cell phone up to the window, we were able to tell her, ‘Now’s your time, come out,’” Dep. Jeff Saluga said. “We told her where to go and had a couple team members on the back half to get her out of there.”

The man’s family met police there and helped negotiators get him out of the house.

As they called the man on the phone, neighbors said they could hear deputies outside the house, trying to convince the man to give up.

“‘Come onto the porch,’ ‘Drop the weapon,’ you know, ‘We’re here to help you…you don’t have to do this,’” Elbert Repich said.

Saluga said they kept him on the phone the entire time.

“There was a long time he was on the phone so you’re able to see where he’s at, listen to where he’s at.”

The man eventually surrendered around 9:15 a.m. He was taken to Mercy Health in Youngstown for evaluation.

The standoff took neighbors in the quiet crossroads section of the township by surprise.

“Especially in like, a neighborhood this small where everyone knows each other,” Repich said.

Sheriff Greene said he’s happy it came to a safe end.

“Negotiation is always going to be the first option with this because we obviously want to protect him but we want to protect our officers as well. That’s very important to us,” Greene said. “This worked out. Everybody collaborated together. The task forces did what they’re supposed to do. This is what they’re for.”

Investigators said they will talk with county prosecutors to see what charges should be filed.