When SWAT Teams Don’t Attack

Old Hershey Road, PA (courtesy Google Maps)

“Police said they went to a home on Old Hershey Road [PA] after a report that a man was randomly shooting at a tree with a semi-automatic firearm around 3:15 a.m.,” abc27.com reports. “When the officers arrived, the unidentified man went into a home and refused to come out. A crisis response team went to the home, and the man came out peacefully after an hour of negotiations, police said. No one was injured.” Cognizant of TTAG’s coverage of over-zealous (to say the least) SWAT teams, reader SL takes careful note of what didn’t happen here . . .

No flash bangs through the living room window.
No sniping from neighboring back yard gardens.
No MRAP-ing in the front door.
No one got hurt.

A little restraint, patience, and talking can go a long way. +10 points to the journalist for saying “semi-automatic” firearm and not “automatic” and for not using the words, “arsenal, tense standoff, or unidentified gunman”, yet.


  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    I’m still wondering how they plan to make out a charge of “reckless endangerment”…

    1. avatar Elliotte says:

      Well, gunfire, in the early AM hours, likely no/not enough illumination of his “target”, possibly not much separation between houses, I don’t have all the details but any of those seems possible.

      1. avatar BillF says:

        Along with alcohol….

  2. avatar paulWTAMU says:

    I’ve seen several standoffs like that even in my neck of the woods over the last 10 years.

    1. Actually, that’s the way almost all of the standoffs in this area go. SWAT almost never goes in unless they’re doing a drug raid.

      Hell…the last two “standoffs” we had, it turned out the suspect wasn’t even in the house, heh.

      1. avatar paulWTAMU says:

        the ones I’ve seen were mostly a case of someone going for suicide by cop.

  3. avatar Dev says:

    That’s a great story, hats off to the Derry Township police department!

  4. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

    3:15am? Dont drink and shoot.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      Anytime? Don’t drink and shoot.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        REALLY? Never? Is that you talking, or the stick up your rear?

        Turn, turn, turn. A time for every purpose under heaven.

        Indiana Sheriff on militarization and MRAPs: “…because the USA is a War Zone.”


        1. avatar Chris says:

          Whoa! Back the truck up there Spanky. I think most people, not only here, but in general can agree that drinking and shooting typically don’t go well together. While I can agree that there is a time and place for virtually every situation, pretty much everyone I’ve shot and/or hunted with agree that when the top comes off the bottles, the shootin’ arn gets to take a nap in it’s cozy leather bed.

        2. avatar Bob12 says:

          What an idiot. (I am talking about the CLEO in the referenced article.) I am sure that his (the CLEO talked about in the article) words are going to bite the hell out of him and this department every time they land in court. If I were on a jury considering whether they used the appropriate amount of force during an incident and I was made aware of these quotes, I would be honor bound to do the right thing, which is to completely reject their justification for use of force.

    2. avatar Defens says:

      Danged racoons – probably partying in the tree and keeping him awake.

  5. avatar Chris says:

    They didn’t even shoot his dog?
    Someone is getting a talking to….

  6. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    Good job, good call, good results.

  7. Imagine if 1% of TTAG readers went to the Derry Township Police Department website, and used their Contact Us form to leave a short compliment for their handling of this incident.

    I just did. Here’s the link: http://www.derrypd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11&Itemid=105

    1. To be honest, I think they’d think the same thing most police departments would think. “Uh…we normally do this…but thanks”

  8. avatar Rydak says:

    Local police who prob knew the man, most likely from dealing with him on numerous occasions (and by numerous, I mean every other fricken day) . This is why local level police are always better to federal or even state coppers. Local cops are people who work, live, eat, sleep, play and grow old with the community they serve. The way it was intended.

    But do not think for a second that if he did threaten the officers with harm and then take a step towards carrying out that threat, that they did not have a rock solid entry team ready to address the threat with flash bangs and select fire weapons and plate armor and all the trimmings. The idea in this case is that it wasn’t needed so it wasn’t used. Despite the abuses from some Gestapo wannabes, there is legitimate use for all of that gear. Just not as much as some think.

  9. avatar JasonM says:

    Dear rational cops,
    Please teach your tactics of patience and dialog to your more zealous brethren, especially here in Seattle.
    Thank you.

    1. …wait until the $15.00 an hour minimum wage is imposed upon Seattle business and the core of your city looks like Detroit in 5-10 years…the definition of a battle zone…that will it be……

      RJ O’Guillory
      Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        Nah…most businesses in Seattle don’t have unskilled laborers, so they pay way over minimum wage to begin with.
        All the new law will do is make the wait time at fast food chains worse.

  10. avatar Great Scot says:

    Ah, the benefits of small-town police. When you know everyone, have met everyone and have probably grown up with everyone in your jurisdiction, you will know what people are deranged killers [Read:the Millers] and who are just harmless tree-shootin’ folks.

    1. avatar Bob12 says:

      For some reason, I can imagine the conversation as something like this: “Johnny, you know I have to take you in.” “I know, Tim. Do you mind if I have a few more beers and say goodnight to my girl before we go.” “Sure, it is a slow night. Now, you come out when you are done, just leave the gun in the house.”

  11. avatar John G. says:

    Good reporting Robert. Good job.

  12. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

    Ok my first thought was ” who cares if he was shooting at his trees on his property” then I realized this might be in town and not outside on a bigger plot of land. Here in Texas if your not inside a city limits it’s no big deal to shoot of a gun on your own property at 3:00 am and as long as not shooting at anybody or hunting illegally at night, you can be as drunk as cooter brown and shoot your own trees as much as you want.

  13. And, if TTAG didn’t have such a need to indulge in cop bashing, the statistics would show that the vast majority of SWAT deployments end in the same peaceful result.

  14. avatar Pat says:

    I wouldn’t let anybody down my “Old Hershey Road” either.

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