BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
ROCKFORD - A standoff situation Saturday in Rockford ended peacefully after Mercer County Sheriff's deputies and members of the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T. team captured a Rockford man who had fired a handgun inside a residence earlier in the day.
According to Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey, 58-year-old Thurman Whitted, Jr, was arrested after a standoff of more than four hours at the home of his girlfriend on N. Franklin St., Rockford. He is currently being held in the Mercer County Jail. Formal charges will be filed once the Mercer County Prosecutor's office has had the opportunity to review the case.The incident began around 6:30 a.m. Saturday when a call of shots fired at 310 N. Franklin St. in Rockford was received by the Sheriff's office. According to Grey, Whitted and his girlfriend were having a domestic dispute when Whitted went alone into the home's bedroom and fired a shot from a handgun. The girlfriend and her adult daughter fled the home and called the Sheriff's office. He was reported to have had a .45 caliber handgun and several rifles inside the residence.
Rockford Police Chief Paul May responded to the scene and was soon joined by Sheriff's deputies. Attempts were made to contact Whitted. Although the victims reported that Whitted had pulled the landline phone out of the wall, two cell phones were with him at the time. Several attempts were made to reach Whitted through these phones, but he did not answer the calls.
Deputies then resorted to using the public address system in the Sheriff's Office cruisers and by using the air horns and sirens, but there was still no response. A family member was called but was also unable to get Whitted to answer. At that point, the S.W.A.T. team was called to respond. Once the S.W.A.T. team arrived, the officers were advised of the situation, then approached the house to try to make contact with Whitted.
Finally at 11:05 a.m., the family member was able to contact Whitted who then agreed to surrender and leave the house. However as Whitted came out of the structure, he refused to keep his hands up and in full view as ordered by law enforcement. When he started to put his hands near his pockets, members of the S.W.A.T. team tackled and handcuffed him, causing a minor injury to Whitted's face. There were no further incidents during the arrest, and no deputies were injured.
Once Whitted was in custody, Sheriff's deputies obtained a search warrant to search the house for firearms and other evidence.