ASHLAND -- A man was taken into custody Monday following a manhunt in the area of Jacobson Avenue and Orange Road, according to a press release issued by the Ashland Police Department Monday afternoon.
Ashland law enforcement agencies concluded a manhunt early Monday afternoon, having located one man without a firearm. It was initially reported that he'd be released, but shortly after 3:30 p.m. police stated the man has now been taken into custody, pending charges.
"We rethought what we were doing," said Ashland Police Chief David Marcelli.
Marcelli said law enforcement initiated the manhunt to take “every precaution” after receiving a tip at 7:38 a.m. Monday morning from a concerned citizen, who said she observed two men dressed in black clothing with a rifle-like gun and flashlights walking into a wooded area and a suspicious vehicle across the street. She was especially concerned because a group of children were gathering at a bus stop nearby.
Officers of the Ashland Police Division and the Ohio State Highway Patrol were on the scene in four minutes. They observed what might have been two people, approximately 75 feet in the woods. One was carrying what appeared to be a long firearm, or possibly a crossbow, or bow.
They called for the person(s) to come out and speak with them, but instead the individual(s) crouched as they looked back at officers and then moved further into the woods and out of sight.
“He turned and went further into the woods,” Marcelli said.
Officers utilized a loudspeaker from a cruiser to call for them to come out. They still did not comply. The wooded area is within city limits, and not open to hunting, a press release noted. It's also clearly marked, "No trespass."
Officers of the Ashland Police Division, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ashland County Sheriff's Office set up a perimeter and a command post was established. This was because of the “strangeness of the situation,” Marcelli said.
At approximately 9 a.m. perimeter units observed a white male matching the description, walking the railroad tracks. They commanded him to stop, and he did not comply. They then located him south of the initial call at East 9th and Virginia Avenue. He was taken into custody for questioning.
Drones, canines and officers then further searched the area through early afternoon. They were unable to locate another individual and decided to call off the search.
The wooded area was searched by Ashland and Ohio State Patrol SRT teams with the assistance of an Ashland Police K9. The Ohio State Patrol ran the aerial search of the wooded area with a drone and its thermal camera.
Several roads were closed during the manhunt and were in the process of being reopened around 1:15 p.m.