A Hiram man is being held in the Portage County jail after being charged with pointing a loaded handgun at a Hiram police officer and holding several other officers at bay following his arrest Wednesday night on drunken driving charges.
Steven J. Sargent, 44, of 6710 Bancroft St. Extension, is charged with felonious assault on a police officer, a first-degree felony; inducing panic, misconduct at an emergency, using weapons while intoxicated and operating a vehicle under the influence, all first-degree misdemeanors; disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and a minor misdemeanor traffic violation.
Hiram Police Chief Ed Samec said no one was injured and the incident "could have escalated" into something even more serious very quickly.
Hiram police officer Jim Brown stopped Sargent's 2002 Ford truck on Brancroft Street near the Great Northern Apartments for failing to use a turn signal at approximately 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to Hiram police and court records.
Sargent's blood alcohol content tested at 0.198, or more than twice the legal limit, and he was processed at the Hiram police station and given a ride back to his apartment, Samec said.
Sargent told Brown he would return after he got something out of his apartment and went inside.
Brown "requested another officer on duty to come to the scene because he just didn't have a good feeling about things," Samec said.
Sargent then left his apartment carrying a .44-caliber Magnum pistol, which he aimed both at Brown and at his own head, threatening suicide, Samec said.
Sargent also allegedly put the gun in his own mouth at one point.
Officers from Mantua, Garrettsville and Windham and the Portage County Sheriff's Office were also asked to respond to assist Hiram police, Samec said.
Sargent held five police officers at bay for about eight minutes while officers tried to get him to surrender. They were able to talk Sargent into surrendering, and he did so peacefully and without further incident. No shots were fired and there were no injuries, Samec said.
Sargent was arraigned Thursday in Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna, where he was ordered held in the Portage County jail on $350,000 bond, pending future court dates.
Additional charges could be filed once the case is reviewed by the Portage County Sheriff's Office and presented to a grand jury.
Samec said such situations are "very emotional for the officers and everyone involved, very, very stressful."
"As a a chief, I couldn't ask for a better resolution to this situation," he said. "I can't thank Mantua, Garrettsville, Windham and sheriff's office enough. It's very comforting to see that these agencies work very well together. The best-case scenario played out that night where Mr. Sargent was taken into custody without injury or incident, and the officers were safe and no one was hurt."
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