Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 11, 2014

Threats land man in mental healthcare facility

Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — A man was taken to a mental health facility after police responded to threats he made to harm himself and others.

Goshen police blocked off Fifth Street between Madison and Jefferson Friday afternoon.

For public safety reasons, other residents from the apartment building at 317 S. Fifth St. were evacuated.

Shortly after 5 p.m., police officers were seen leading a man in handcuffs away from the building. The man surrendered to police and was transported without incident to a mental healthcare facility.

Zach Ganger was home at 313 S. Fifth St. when police vehicles started arriving in his neighborhood shortly after 4 p.m.

“We just saw a bunch of police cars out there and so we looked out the window and then more and more kept coming,” Ganger said outside the cordoned-off area. “Then we saw a detective walk up to the door. My mom asked if we should leave, and he said, ‘Yeah, there’s a threat,’ so we should leave.”

A woman who declined to give her name said she was home at the apartment house at 317 S. Fifth when the incident began.

“I was washing dishes and I look out my window and I see a cop crouching behind a car, and I see he has his gun drawn,” she said. “And then I hear a knock on my door and I’m thinking the worst, like in a movie where someone opens up the door and they’re going to take you hostage or something. And I wait a little bit. They were like, ‘Police, let’s go.’”

The woman said a police officer started talking about an individual — “suicidal, homicidal, something was wrong” — and that they were asking people to evacuate.”

The woman complied.

“They were very nice in trying to get me to leave,” she said of police.

Aaron Frazier stood outside the cordoned-off area, pacing back and forth while looking down the street filled with more than 14 marked and unmarked squad cars including the black vehicle of the Goshen Police Emergency Response Team.

“I told the police he’s my best friend and I’m willing to try and negotiate and get him outside,” Frazier said. “The officer told me he had threatened to kill the president and harm himself and others. Out of nowhere he flips out. It’s about money and he’s bipolar schizophrenic. He’s an Army veteran. He needs to be in a VA (Veterans Affairs) hospital. “

Frazier says he spends time with his friend every day at the apartment.

“If I had showed up 30 to 40 minutes ago, this wouldn’t have happened. I’m like the peacemaker and try to avoid trouble,” Frazier said. “I’m surprised at the extent (of behavior). I wouldn’t expect this type of behavior. He’s normally not a bad guy. We play video games and hang out.”

An uncle of the man, who declined to give his name, said his nephew was off his medicines because of money issues.

“I would like to see him at a VA medical health facility. That’s where he needs to be because of his psyche problems,” the uncle said.

After the man was escorted from the house, the woman who declined to give her name said police told her she had to wait while officers searched the building for bombs.

“I can’t believe he told them he had a bomb in there,” the woman said. “That’s what police told me. I just want to go home and finish my dishes.”

Margaret Watts sat on a park bench in front of Goshen City Hall at 5:45 p.m. She lives in the same apartment house on the top floor.

“I had no idea this was going on. I was at work, went to the bank and came home. The police said I couldn’t go anywhere near my house,” Watts said. “I’m just waiting to go in (home) and go to bed. It’s been a long day.”

At approximately 5:45 p.m., an Elkhart Police K-9 unit arrived and parked in front of the apartment house. The officer was seen walking the dog on a leash into the house and a short time later, made their way to the back side of the building.

After 6 p.m., the police rolled up the yellow police-tape that blocked off both ends of the street and gave the residents permission to enter their building.