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East Liverpool Police for 3-18

March 18, 2014
The Review

An early morning call Sunday about a suicidal man on Bank Street led to officers having to mace a man to avoid a potential standoff. Officers were dispatched at 1:14 a.m. to 1052 Bank St. for a possibly suicidal man, with the caller hanging up without offering any additional information. Officers found a truck parked outside the residence, but could get no response from inside. At 3:18 a.m., officers were notified of a truck in the ditch on Virginia Avenue close to the railroad tracks and found the same truck that had been parked outside the Bank Street home earlier. The railroad company was notified to stop all train traffic as officers approached the vehicle, where they found William J. Smith, 28, Bank Street, in the driver's seat. He refused to get out of the vehicle, swearing at officers. Several people arrived on the scene, identifying themselves as Smith's siblings, and his brother asked to try and reason with him. Smith said he had a loaded weapon but would not say where it was located, nor would he show his hands when ordered to do so, according to officers, who decided to mace him in the face at close range to avoid the situation escalating into a standoff. Smith put up his hands as officers covered him with weapons drawn then pulled him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. A Ruger .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol was found behind a child seat on the passenger seat next to where Smith had been seated. The pistol was loaded with one live round in the chamber. When the pistol was unloaded, officers found the words "good bye" written on the cartridges. Officers reported he smelled strongly of alcohol and said he told them he wanted to end his life and after drinking was going to shoot himself at home. Then, Smith said, he decided to let a train hit him but took the pistol in case he still needed to shoot himself. Smith was taken to East Liverpool City Hospital and treated. He was charged with obstructing official business and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.



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