LANCASTER – A 50-year-old Lancaster man who allegedly pointed a rifle at court deputies trying to serve an eviction notice was taken into custody Tuesday evening after holding police at bay for several hours.
After firing several rounds at deputy personnel, Stephen Donald Haynes finally surrendered around 7:15 p.m., and he was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for a non-life threatening, self-inflicted, gunshot wound to his jaw, according to a press statement by the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
During the more than eight-hour standoff, surrounding neighborhoods were locked down and nearby schools evacuated as dozens of deputies swarmed the area near 4th Street East and Avenue J in Lancaster.
It all started around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when deputies from Court Services went to a Lancaster home in the 44300 block of 4th Street East to serve a court-ordered eviction notice, according to Lancaster Community Relations deputy Miguel Ruiz.
“They were confronted by a male adult, believed to be the resident, who pointed a rifle at them,” Ruiz stated. “The deputies retreated and called for assistance while they contained the home.”
After learning that the suspect had access to several rifles, deputies evacuated the Kinder Care across the street as a precaution. El Dorado Elementary School was locked down and students were eventually released to their parents from the northwest corner. Joshua Elementary was also placed on lockdown during the incident, parents said.
Family members and friends of the suspect began showing up at the scene in an effort to talk the suspect out of the house, witnesses said.
“For several hours, there were numerous attempts to have the suspect exit peacefully. The suspect, however, fired several rounds at deputy personnel,” Sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
As the hours ticked by, the Sheriff Department’s Armored Personnel Carrier arrived on scene with the Special Weapons Team, while a Sheriff’s helicopter hovered overhead.
Deputies from the Sheriff Department’s Crisis Negotiations Team were also on scene attempting to establish contact with the suspect in an effort to bring the incident to a peaceful conclusion.
“The situation concluded after tear gas was deployed into the location. The suspect then surrendered to deputy personnel without further incident,” Sheriff’s officials said in the press statement.
No deputy personnel were reported injured.
Editor’s Note: Story was updated to reflect the latest information.