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May 19, 2014

Towanda man hospitalized after standoff, Butler County sheriff says

A Towanda man shot himself in the face with a shotgun during a barricaded standoff with SWAT officers, the Butler County sheriff said.

A Towanda man shot himself in the face with a shotgun during a barricaded standoff with SWAT officers, the Butler County sheriff said.

The incident happened on Sunday, Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.

The man, Roger Pierce, 42, was taken into custody on suspicion of aggravated assault and criminal threat, Herzet said. Pierce is in Wesley Medical Center in Wichita in serious condition, and may undergo surgery to reconstruct his face, Herzet said. Depending on his condition, authorities might have to hold off on any legal action, Herzet said.

Herzet said the confrontation unfolded this way:

Pierce and his wife, Sharon, 30, got into an argument on Sunday. Her three children, ages 6 to 10, were with them in their home.

“She told us later that the husband told one of the children, ‘Tell your mother goodbye, because I’m going to shoot her,’” Herzet said.

The wife ran out of the house with the three children and heard Pierce loading a shotgun in the bedroom, Herzet said.

She called 911. Deputies showed up shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Deputies could see Pierce walking around inside the house. He did not respond to their plea that he give up, according to the report.

SWAT team officers then were called in. They surrounded the home and asked neighboring residents to leave the area.

SWAT team officers tossed a “throw phone” into a window of the home and used a public address device to attempt to get Pierce to pick up the phone and talk. “He never picked it up and never came to the door,” Herzet said.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Herzet said, SWAT officers broke through doors at the north and south ends of the home, intending to deploy tear gas to get Pierce to come out. But officers at the north door found Pierce, conscious but seriously wounded.

“They put him in cuffs and took him into custody,” Herzet said. “Evidently he shot himself with the shotgun at some point after his wife left the house. We don’t know when he did it, and our officers saw him walking around for quite a while, while we tried to talk him out.”

Inside the house, officers found dried blood in nearly every room, Herzet said.

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