Standoff ends safely

A Marietta man is facing up to 11 years in prison on an attempted aggravated murder charge after firing multiple shots at police during a standoff at his Spring Street home Thursday morning.

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.

Officers were called to Ransom’s home at 140 E. Spring Street around 12:15 a.m., said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.

“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 that 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.

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 WCSO Special Response Team.

Officers notified neighbors within a sight line of Ransom’s home of the threat by knocking on doors and evacuated some neighbors in the immediate vicinity.

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.

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 Major Brian Schuck with the sheriff’s office acted as a negotiator, trying to talk Ransom into coming out of the home voluntarily.

As it neared dawn and Ransom still refused to exit, getting him out of the home became more pressing and it was decided that 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 a larger portion of the neighborhood warning them to stay indoors, said Waite.

At least one bullet hit a tree an officer was standing behind and it’s not year clear yet if they struck anything else, he said.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said Ransom possibly hit the WCSO’s current armored vehicle, a Peacekeeper built on the chassis of a 1978 Dodge truck.

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. However, 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 is being held without bond at the Washington County Jail and corrections officers have him on suicide watch, said Mincks.

Around 25 officers from both the Marietta Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded and the Ohio State Highway Patrol helped with traffic.

Ransom is scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. today in Marietta Municipal Court.