SHIRLEY — Local SWAT officers were called to a home in Shirley late Wednesday after a man told his family he would attempt “suicide by cop” before letting police take him to jail.

Robert L. Jones II, 35, was wanted on a warrant out of Randolph County, and officials warned local law enforcement Wednesday night that Jones was likely at his home in Shirley and would not come out of the home quietly.

Members of the local SWAT team surrounded Jones’ home in the 400 block Pennsylvania Street in Shirley for six hours, trying to convince Jones to come out. At the time, police weren’t sure if the man was armed or what his mental state might be, police said. Jones came out of his home, unarmed, and was arrested around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

Jones had told family members recently that “he would commit suicide or suicide by cop” because “he would not go back to jail,” dispatch records show.

Jones is on probation after being convicted of a misdemeanor trespassing charge in Randolph County and is accused of violating the terms of his sentence, police said. A warrant for his re-arrest was issued on Tuesday, records show.

Randolph County police officers contacted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department around 8 p.m. Wednesday, giving local police a description of Jones’ car and a warning that Jones might not cooperate with officers.

Randolph County told Hancock County officials that Jones had been involved with several standoffs in Union City, near the Indiana-Ohio state line, Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Campbell said.

Police found Jones’ car parked outside his Shirley home, and they did their best to draw Jones out of the home without incident, said Officer Brian Pryor with the Shirley Police Department. That proved unsuccessful, and the SWAT team was called around 11:30 p.m. to ensure the safety of officers, the suspect and others nearby, Pryor said.

Neighbors were told of the situation with Jones, and some decided to evacuate for their own safety, Pryor said. Officers used public address systems that echoed through the quiet Shirley streets late into the night and drew crowds of onlookers out of their homes.

SWAT officers broke a window of Jones’ home to give the suspect a cellphone, and negotiators spoke with Jones for several hours before convincing him to cooperate.

But Jones appeared calm as he spoke with police, Pryor said.

“He just didn’t want to go to jail,” Pryor said. “That was his main thing.”

A woman was inside the home with Jones during the ordeal.

The woman told police she slept through the incident and refused to give information about Jones’ behavior, Pryor said.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.