on March 16, 2014 - 11:43 PM
, updated March 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM
Erie County sheriff’s officials have filed two charges of attempted first-degree murder against a 48-year-old Town of Concord man who kept up to 60 SWAT team members and police personnel at bay after firing dozens of shots at authorities during a more than 12-hour standoff starting late Sunday night.
Matthew W. Eck, of Brown Hill Road, surrendered peacefully, without further incident, shortly before 9:30 a.m. Monday, Sheriff’s Capts. Ronald L. Kenyon and Gregory J. Savage reported. Eck was taken to Erie County Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
During the long standoff, sheriff’s officials say, the man fired dozens of shots from a high-powered rifle, shooting at deputies and damaging at least three police vehicles, including the windshields of two cars and the rear of a SWAT team truck. Deputies later found more than 60 shell casings at the scene.
One deputy got some glass fragments in his eye, but he remained at the scene throughout the night.
The roughly 12 hours of negotiations included telephone calls, frequent texting and the help of the man’s family, Kenyon said. SWAT teams from the Sheriff’s Office and the State Police, along with FBI negotiators, also responded to the scene at Brown Hill and Zimmerman roads.
“They talked to him on and off for 12 hours, and he finally agreed to come out,” Kenyon said.
Officials said the standoff started as a domestic incident that apparently was fueled by alcohol and possibly some medication.
Deputies surrounded the home on Brown Hill Road after getting a call at 8:59 p.m. from the man’s wife, who had fled next door with their children and said her husband was “out of control” and acting in a threatening way, according to police reports. She also told the dispatcher that there were guns inside the home and that she heard what she believed were gunshots as she left the house.
Sheriff’s Deputies Bradford G. Ballantyne and Jonathan M. Hanna responded, and as they pulled their two patrol cars slowly up the driveway, they were greeted by gunfire that struck each of the vehicles three times, including shots through both windshields. They quickly retreated and notified dispatch about the critical situation.
As more police and emergency personnel rushed to the scene, authorities also had to ask occupants directly across the street to go into their basement, before they later were evacuated, along with residents of at least six other homes.
During the standoff, state police also closed Route 219 in both directions, along with other roads, before confirming that the man hadn’t left the house.
The sheriff’s armored SWAT team vehicle also was shot at, struck in the rear, while transporting deputies from the staging area to the scene.
Authorities began communicating with the man, under the direction of Savage and assisted by both the FBI and State Police SWAT teams.
As negotiations dragged into the early hours Monday, the Sheriff’s Office reported that the situation had been “contained” and that there was no continuing threat to the public. But the sheriff and state police maintained a law enforcement perimeter in the area and redirected traffic away from the location until the situation was resolved.
The volley of shots fired at authorities forced sheriff’s deputies to move their command post farther away from the home where the shooter was holding out.