October 31, 2014

Medina
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Police report details standoff in Brunswick, man arrested

BRUNSWICK — A Brunswick man who barricaded himself in his home on March 21 was taken into custody by police Monday afternoon after he was released from a mental health facility.

Luke Pfeiler, 22, of 3327 Valley Forge Drive, was picked up by police on a warrant for domestic violence and felony resisting arrest.

Luke Pfeiler

Luke Pfeiler

The charges were filed after police were called to his home at about 2:45 p.m. March 21. Pfeiler’s girlfriend called police and said Pfeiler threatened her with a knife.

Officers arrived at the house and found Pfeiler had barricaded himself in his bedroom with a large knife, according to a police report released by Brunswick police Monday.

Pfeiler refused to come out of the room and threatened the officers attempting to negotiate an end to the standoff.

After nearly two hours, police broke into the room and subdued Pfeiler using non-lethal “bean bag” ammunition and an electronic stun gun. The connectors for the stun gun struck Pfeiler in the thigh and in the head as he ducked away from police. Pfeiler suffered a seizure and was taken to Southwest General Hospital.

This isn’t the first time Pfeiler has threatened to harm himself or encouraged police to use force against him.

March’s incident happened less than two weeks after Pfeiler was released on parole from the Lorain Correctional Institution on March 12 after being convicted in January of failing to obey a police officer and vehicular assault, third-degree felonies.

The charges stemmed from a May 23 police chase through Montville Township that ended with Pfeiler smashing his vehicle into a truck.

He also pleaded guilty to expelling a “bodily substance” at an officer at Lorain Correctional Institution.

His ex-girlfriend told police Pfeiler wanted to be chased by police because he was trying to commit “suicide by cop.”

The police report of the Brunswick standoff was written by Sgt. Kevin Scullin, who fired the stun gun.

Scullin said officers arrived at the home to find Pfeiler’s girlfriend in a car in the driveway with the couple’s son, who was born in December.

The girlfriend told officers Pfeiler had tried to choke her and threatened her with a large knife. He took her phone away but she grabbed his phone as she fled the home barefoot with their son and called police from her locked car in the driveway.

Pfeiler’s parents arrived at the house shortly after officers and said their son called them from his girlfriend’s phone and said he was going to harm himself.

The parents, who own the home, asked officers to knock down the door to reach their son.

According to the police report, Pfeiler’s mother was uncooperative during the standoff. She had to be removed from the home after trying to enter the house and refused to stop calling her son from her cell phone. Police had asked her to stop so they could conduct the negotiation.

Police eventually contacted the cell phone provider to have the phone Pfeiler was using — the one belonging to his girlfriend — turned off so he wouldn’t be able to make or receive calls.

In his report, Scullin said charges were not filed against the mother because of the “extreme stress” she was under in the situation.

Officers entered the home through the side door, and found Pfeiler had shut himself inside an upstairs bedroom and told officers he would kill himself if they came in, according to Scullin’s report.

He also threatened to come out and attack officers with a knife.

“He said this would mean police would have to kill him,” Scullin said in his report.

Once Pfeiler was barricaded in his room, police called extra officers to the scene and prepared shields, shotguns, pistols, stun guns and the non-lethal rounds known as “bean bag” ammunition.

“We were confident that if he came out of the bedroom, the officers would be somewhat protected and could attempt to stop him without lethal options,” Scullin wrote in his report, “but if that failed, the officers could immediately respond to a life threatening attack with lethal force.”

Officers inside the home attempted to negotiate with Pfeiler, but he wouldn’t come out of the room. He told officers he was taking a variety of psychiatric prescription drugs in an attempt to harm himself. Officers reported hearing pill bottles being opened behind the door.

Officers outside the home told officers inside they could see Pfeiler by the window wielding a large knife and said he was away from the door.

The standoff ended when police kicked down the bedroom door.

Scullin said officers shouted at him to “drop the knife” and to “get on the floor.” Instead, Pfeiler edged closer to the officers. Officers fired four “bean bag” shots but they had no effect. When Scullin fired his stun gun, Pfeiler ducked at the last moment and one connector struck his thigh and the other struck him in the head, according to the report.

Pfeiler fell to the floor and began to shake. Scullin turned off the stun gun and pulled the connectors out and determined Pfeiler was having a seizure.

The seizure lasted about a minute, and a medic squad waiting near the standoff transported Pfeiler to Southwest General Hospital.

He was released from Southwest General and transported to Laurel Hospital in Willoughby for mental health treatment.

Brunswick police went to Willoughby and transported Pfeiler to the Medina County Jail where he was booked about 3 p.m. Monday.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.