October 23, 2014

Elyria
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Police: Toy gun leads to standoff

Listen to the 911 audio from the standoff by following this link

AMHERST — What could have turned into a deadly situation ended peacefully Saturday morning after police arrested a sleeping man whom police say brandished a toy gun following an argument with his fiancee.

Police did not learn that the gun, described as a plastic toy replica of a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, was not real until officers quietly entered the home through the back door and arrested 26-year-old Jason P. Pence, who was found in an upstairs bedroom asleep more than five hours after police initially responded, according to a police report.

COURTESY AMHERST POLICE
Jason Pence allegedly brandished a toy gun (inset) during a standoff in Amherst on Saturday. No one was hurt.

Moments before, police learned of the opportunity to enter the home on the
100 block of Forest Hill Drive when Pence’s fiancee called police on her cell phone and told a dispatcher that Pence was asleep, police reported.

Officers instructed her to get her 4-year-old son, who also was in the house, and go to the back door to meet officers.

Pence was handcuffed and taken to jail without a struggle. He is facing two counts of aggravated menacing, inducing panic and resisting arrest. 

Pence was being held in the Lorain County Jail on Saturday and will be arraigned on the charges Tuesday morning in Oberlin Municipal Court.

Pence was calm but aloof when he first spoke with a 911 dispatcher shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. The dispatcher acknowledged she was on the line three times before Pence told her he wanted officers to come to the house because he and his fiancee were fighting, according to a released tape of the call.

Pence told the dispatcher that the fight had not gotten physical, but they were close to it.

As officers walked up the driveway, Pence approached them from the home with his hands behind his back, the report stated.

Officers ordered Pence to show his hands, however he instead pulled what appeared to be a black handgun from his waistband, pointed it at officers and ran back inside the home, according to police.

That started a standoff, with more than eight Amherst officers surrounding the home while the dispatcher tried several times to contact anyone inside the home by phone.

For hours, police said, no one answered the telephone.

About 5 a.m., the Amherst officers were joined by members of the Lorain County SWAT team, who arrived in an armored vehicle.

However, a break in the standoff came shortly after 8:30 a.m. when Pence’s fiancee contacted police. After Pence’s arrest, a search of the house turned up the toy gun in a kitchen cabinet drawer.

Court records show Pence has several prior domestic violence arrests that date back to a week after his 18th birthday, when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence in Elyria Municipal Court.

In 2001, Pence also was ordered to three years of probation after pleading guilty to attempted felonious assault. He eventually violated probation and was sent to a community-based correctional facility until the end of his probation in March 2005, online court records showed.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.