Pennsylvania official in custody after 6-hour SWAT standoff

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2015 2:17 PM

MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. (AP) — A small-town politician threatened to detonate propane tanks and claimed to have "thousands of rounds" available for a rifle he brandished after an argument with his son turned into a six-hour standoff with a SWAT team, police said Monday.

Keith Schwab, McKees Rocks borough council president, was in custody awaiting arraignment on charges including aggravated assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment. The standoff began at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday and ended at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, according to a criminal complaint filed by Allegheny County police.

Two borough officers responded after Schwab's adult son called saying his father was intoxicated and threatened to hit him with an aluminum baseball bat.

Police got a key from Schwab's son, who had left the residence, and found that a bedroom door had been broken. The son had told police that Schwab had been banging on the door with the bat while saying, "I'll hit you," the complaint said.

Police went into the basement to look for Schwab and heard the sound of a rifle being cocked, and they saw Schwab, shirtless, holding the weapon, the complaint said.

"I don't think it would be a good idea to come down here," Schwab told the officers, according to the complaint.

The officers left the residence and summoned the county SWAT team, while police had Schwab's wife and McKees Rocks Police Chief Robert Cifrulak call Schwab to persuade him to surrender, the complaint said.

During those calls, Schwab, 53, told his wife he had "thousands of rounds" and told Cifrulak he had "bullets that can penetrate vests," the complaint said. During later negotiations with the SWAT team, Schwab also threatened to blow up propane tanks in the house, the complaint said.

Concerned that the negotiations weren't going well, police fired gas into the home to force Schwab outside and fired a bean bag round to subdue him, Cifrulak said.

Someone hung up during several calls to Schwab's home Monday.

Borough Secretary Tricia Levander declined to comment on Schwab's status. Solicitor John Bacharach said Schwab is an elected official, so the borough can't suspend him or remove him from office. If he's convicted, the borough could move to have Schwab removed from office, but that requires action by the Legislature and the governor, Bacharach said.