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Stand-off in Willard

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 31, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Update: 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Full story below.

A 19-year-old man’s family wept on the street in Willard after learning the young man shot a woman and then took his own life during a hostage situation at the Family Dollar store.

Pictures of the hostage standoff are posted HERE.

At a press conference following the three-hour standoff, Willard Police Chief Mark Holden said authorities are not clear on why Shawn Schuett entered the store about 5 p.m. Wednesday with a rifle and barricaded himself inside with two women.

“Our negotiator told him, ‘You’re only looking at a robbery charge if you come out right now.’,” Holden said. But, Schuett told the negotiator he didn’t want money.

At some point during the negotiations, Schuett asked police to bring him a chicken dinner from a Chinese restaurant, which authorities purchased but never had the chance to deliver.

“We did everything we could,” Holden said.

“It was a bad situation,” said city manager Brian Humphress, who also spoke briefly at the conference.

Police were first notified by a woman whom Schuett forced at gunpoint, with the rifle pointed to her chest, to drive him to the Family Dollar store, Holden said.

Several emergency calls about Schuett came into the dispatch center following the woman’s cry for help.

Schuett left the vehicle without incident, locked the store’s doors and began to pile shelves and other materials in front of the doors “to slow us down,” Holden said.

Agencies from across the state joined the local police department to assist, including Mansfield Police, Ontario Police, the Ohio State Patrol, Huron County Sheriff’s Office and Norwalk Police, but the situation unfolded quickly at the end with the loss of life.

After Schuett shot the victim and then himself, the other hostage ran out the back door of the store and notified police shots had been fired.

The OSP Special Response Team then blew out the front windows and officers entered the store to find the suspect deceased and the victim lying on the floor with the gunshot wound.

She was immediately transported by ambulance to Mercy Willard Hospital, but police had no information on her condition immediately after the situation ended.

The names of the victim and other hostage were also not released.

“This is all still under investigation...I’m sorry we can’t give out any more information right now,” Holden said.

During the three-hour ordeal, family members and townspeople gathered but were kept far away from the scene.

Firefighters and police alike warned the citizens they were in “the line of fire” and must keep back.

After the incident unfolded, Serena Shepherd, a family member of another woman who was looking after Schuett for the last year, tearfully recalled what a nice boy Schuett was.

“He really was a nice boy. He believed in God, but he had stopped taking his medication,” Shepherd said.

According to Shepherd, Schuett had been living in various homes throughout his youth before ending up at a residence on Egypt Road, just outside Willard where he was staying for the last year.

Willard Police said they had no prior run-ins with him and didn’t know what triggered the violence that shook the normally quiet city.

* * *

Update: 11 p.m. Wednesday Police chief press conference.

Willard Police Chief Mark Holden shared the following details while speaking with reporters tonight:

Sometime after 5 p.m., Shawn Schuett held a woman hostage in a car at gunpoint and demanded she drive him to Family Dollar in Willard. After arriving at the store, he quickly let that woman go and held two female store employees hostage.

At 5:18 p.m., Willard police got the call. Other law enforcement agencies, including a SWAT team, were called in. For the next three hours, negotiators tried to get Schuett to end the stand-off. At one point, he agreed to let them both go.

At 8:18 p.m., one of the female employees ran out a back door, yelling that the gunman was firing shots. At that point, authorities blew out the windows and burst into the store. In the back, they found the other female employee lying on the ground, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Schuett also was there on the ground, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The female employee was rushed by ambulance to Mercy Willard Hospital. Her name has not been released.

* * *

Update: 10:20 p.m. Wednesday. More information has been released.

The hostage situation at the Family Dollar store on West Walton Street in Willard ended with a gunman taking his own life.

Former Mansfield resident Shawn Schuett, 19, of Egypt Road in rural Willard, was the gunman.

Prior to that, a female clerk was shot in the head, and she is in critical condition at a hospital. Her name has not been released.

More details will be released as soon as they become available.

* * *

Update: 9:55 p.m. Wednesday. Local law enforcement officers, including Willard police, Huron County Sheriff's deputies and state Highway Patrol troopers, have resolved the hostage situation at the Family Dollar store on West Walton Street in Willard.

Willard police are speaking with reporters at this moment, and more details will be released as soon as they become available.

* * *

Update: 8:51 p.m. Wednesday. A number of officers have reportedly left the scene, according to witnesses.

Also, it appeared possible victims were taken away by ambulance.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud "bang" or explosion about 8 p.m.

Law enforcement agencies are reporting a possible stand-off at a U.S. 224 business in Willard.

There are  reports that a man with a gun attempted an armed robbery at the business.

Reports from the scene have indicated the event might have started as an armed robbery attempt and escalated into what has now been confirmed as a hostage situation, though the exact number of hostages is not clear.

Willard fire personnel were moving onlookers away from the scene.

Keep checking back as details become available.

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