GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Police Chief Jim Vetter said the man who touched off a neighborhood emergency Thursday afternoon was arrested several miles away and indicated he fled before police and SWAT teams surrounded his parents' home for hours thinking he was still inside.
The story took an odd twist late Thursday when Vetter released a statement saying the man had been arrested at Cleves Warsaw Pike near Hillside Avenue in Delhi Township, several miles from the scene on Melissaview Court in Green Township where police had responded in force.
Vetter said family members told police the man dumped gasoline throughout the basement of his parents' house and pulled out a lighter to set it on fire, but a family member was able to wrestle the lighter away and escape.
Vetter indicated that police used necessary precautions under the circumstances.
"The family told officers that the suspect was believed to be still inside the house," Vetter's statement said. "Officers attempted verbal contact but were unsuccessful. Security measures were implemented at nearby schools in case the suspect fled the house prior to the officer's arrival. A SWAT team was called to the scene to attempt to negotiate the suspect's surrender in case he was still in the house. Because the suspect had access to multiple firearms, nearby residents were requested to shelter in place."
The man was eventually taken into custody without incident and charged with attempted aggravated arson, Vetter said.
Officers outside the house had used a bullhorn trying to communicate with the man while SWAT teams waited nearby and a sheriff's helicopter flew overhead. Residents in the area of Greenmount Drive and Melissaview were advised to shelter in place during the incident while police filled their usually quiet streets.
Late in the day, heavily-armed SWAT team members were seen approaching the house with guns at the ready.
Immediately GO INDOORS if in the area of Melissa View and Greenmount Dr. due to police activity in the area. Stay inside until further notice. Tune in to local media for more info. pic.twitter.com/mDH1zKttU7— Hamilton County EMA (@HCEMA) October 17, 2019
Nearby Oak Hills High School and Dulles Elementary School were placed on "soft lockdown," an Oak Hills District spokesperson said. That means the entrances were secure, the school resource officer was guarding the doors, and no one was allowed to enter the building.
After dismissal, students who live in the area were being kept at school and their parents were called to pick them up.