An FBI review team spent the afternoon Wednesday looking over the home in Struthers where a 13-hour standoff ended with the death of a man inside.
Investigators say 48-year-old Brandon Schmitt was killed during the standoff at a house on 5th Street.
The SWAT team and CRT officers stormed the house at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday to remove Schmitt.
Just before police forced their way in, they say Schmitt broke out a window and pointed a rifle toward law enforcement. He was shot and died from his injuries.
“I think this part of our deadly force policy, and as a clear and present danger to local law enforcement and to other civilians in the area, it was incumbent on us to mitigate the threat,” said Special FBI Agent Eric Smith.
Investigators don’t believe Schmitt fired at officers before he was shot.
The FBI has taken over the case.
According to police, the situation started at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when a 13-year-old boy said he heard a fight upstairs between his mother’s boyfriend (Schmitt) and his 16-year-old sister. Police said Schmitt reportedly tried to sexually assault the girl, and during the scuffle, he hit her with a flashlight.
The boy pushed Schmitt off of his sister, and they both ran from the house and called their mother, who was at work.
The mother gave police keys to the house and took the two teens to the hospital. She confirmed to police that a .22 caliber rifle was in the house, according to investigators.
“Officers from Struthers went into the house, started calling out the male’s name and heard what appeared to be a gunshot,” said Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy. “Officers secured the area. They were able to stay in the house in a secure area and monitor the upstairs. They started making the necessary calls, got the CRT team out and SWAT out.”
SWAT negotiators were working with the suspect for hours to get him to surrender.
“The entire night it was, ‘Please put down the gun, leave the gun.’ And at no point do I ever think the gun left his side,” Roddy said.
Before the situation came to a head, Schmitt had asked SWAT team negotiators how much trouble he would be in. He had also asked for cigarettes and to talk with his parents.
Police say the teen girl who was assaulted suffered a concussion and a possible broken forearm.
Struthers schools were put on a 2-hour delay because of the situation.
Local police said they have had run-ins with the suspect before.
In 2017, he was arrested for domestic violence and pleaded guilty to the charge. Police said in one instance, they were called to the house because Schmitt was waiving a Samurai sword.
In 2011, Schmitt was also sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing a First National Bank in Boardman. He was granted a judicial release in January 2012.