Penfield standoff ends peacefully after 24 hours, no injuries reported, charges announced Wednesday

Local News

PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Fowler said a standoff in Penfield ended peacefully Tuesday after 24 hours.

“We finally have resolution, we’ve been able to achieve a peaceful outcome in this case with no injuries and we’re very thankful for that,” Fowler said.

The suspect was identified as 51-year-old Benjamin Smith.

Fowler was joined by Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter for the update around 5 p.m. Tuesday. They say Smith ultimately left the house peacefully, with no injuries reported, around 4 p.m. — almost 24 hours exactly from when deputies were first called to assist Monday.

“We spent several hours, and I cannot begin to give you the impression, the hard work of the negotiators, and the SWAT team, and all the deputies put into this,” Fowler said. “Those negotiators were at that for over 24 hours, talking to the subject, while the SWAT team put themselves at risk to try and contain the situation to just that small area and keep the public safe.”

Officials said Smith was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation. They say criminal charges would be announced Wednesday.

“The subject will be held for several days on those mental health issues, receive the treatment that he needs in the short term, and that will allow investigators to finish the process at the house here,” Fowler said. “We need to send the bomb squad into the house and we need to get the crime scene technicians in there, but we’re not going to do that until we know it’s safe in there.”

What started as a mental health crisis Monday resulted in a standoff — involving Molotov cocktail setting a vehicle on far and Smith launching arrows from a bow at officer — that lasted more than a day. Fowler said Smith has a criminal history and was previously convicted of third degree arson.

Fowler said Smith was distressed Monday afternoon and began threatening his parole officer and it turned into a request for the sheriff’s office to assist on a welfare check. When deputies arrived, they confirmed there was a mental health crisis and the suspect was being threatening.

“He is absolutely threatening our deputies and threatening his own life,” Fowler said.

Fowler said Smith was distressed Monday afternoon and began threatening his parole officer and it turned into a request for the sheriff’s office to assist on a welfare check. When deputies arrived, they confirmed there was a mental health crisis and he was being threatening.

“He is absolutely threatening our deputies and threatening his own life,” Fowler said.

Fowler says the suspect was launching arrows at officers from the house and at one point threw a Molotov cocktail into the driveway that set a vehicle on fire.

“In the middle of the night after the Molotov cocktail and arrows had gone on, we did get some consultation from the mental health department and they suggested we allow him to calm down and get some rest and see if he approaches the situation differently in a couple of hours,” Fowler said.

Fowler also said Smith’s mother was able to exit the house without incident as the standoff was going on. Sheriff Baxter said his mother was cooperative throughout the standoff.

The chief deputy says there’s a possibility that this incident might not qualify for bail under New York state criminal justice reform laws.

“If we get a resolution here today and we file criminal charges, those don’t qualify for bail, so there’s potential he’d get an appearance ticket and be released to go right back home,” Fowler said.

Route 250 remained closed to traffic between Atlantic Avenue and Glendon Wood Road for 24 hours but reopened shortly after the standoff ended.

“I’m just extremely shocked,” Andrew Aikin said who lives on the street. “This here being Penfield and I never expected anything like this ever happening especially so close to where I live, Wickham Farms.”

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