By Jeff Gallatin
A 28-year-old North Olmsted man is facing aggravated menacing and weapons charges, and could face more, after two incidents Friday and Saturday. Police said he was at the center of a three-hour standoff with the Westshore SWAT team at his Clague Road home Friday. The next morning he allegedly shot a BB gun at a neighbor’s dog and the surrounding area from his roof.
Joseph Barack, of 4484 Clague Road, made his initial appearance in Rocky River Municipal Court on charges of aggravated menacing and discharging a firearm inside city limits. A criminal protection order was also issued against Barack, prohibiting him from contact with neighbors.
“We’re looking into possible other charges,” North Olmsted Police Chief Jamie Gallagher said Monday morning. “The initial charges come from when he was on the roof shooting at the dog with the BB gun. Other things have been coming to light as we look into this, and we also have filed a report with the city prosecutor’s office for review and other possible charges in the first incident with the SWAT team. We expect a ruling on that from the prosecutor within a few days.”
One neighbor, who asked not to be named, said the incidents shook up the area.
“It was pretty scary,” she said. “We all had to stay in our houses and stay out of the way. I had a doctor’s appointment which I couldn’t go to right away.”
The woman said the sight of the man on the roof later with a gun apparently shooting didn’t help.
“That was a BB gun? It certainly looked real,” she said later when informed by West Life the weapon on the roof was a BB gun.
Gallagher said police were initially called to the house about 9:30 a.m Friday.
“There had been an argument between the young man and his father, which led to the father leaving the house and the department getting notified about the situation,” Gallagher said. “The father was concerned about his behavior because his son appeared to be under the influence of something and had apparently had been stalking around the house. The father then was talking to a mobile crisis unit, which led to our being notified at the department.”
Police were concerned because the younger man apparently had taken some other drugs and mixed them with bath salts, the street name of a currently legal drug with effects similar to hallucinogens and amphetamines. That combination is not uncommon in drug use, Gallagher said.
“It’s a bad combination and doesn’t really make your head feel too well,” Gallagher said.
Officers were also concerned because there were guns in the house.
“You don’t want an upset person who may have taken drugs to be near weapons where he could harm himself or anybody else,” Gallagher said.
When officers went to the house initially, they asked the younger man to come out on his own, which he refused to do, Gallagher said.
“We wanted him out of there and away from where he might have the potential to harm somebody,” Gallagher said.
When he refused, the Westshore SWAT team was called in.
“We continued to talk to him and negotiate to try and get him out of there,” Gallagher said.
He said at no time did the young man threaten himself or anyone else while talking to police, Gallagher said.
After more than three hours, Gallagher said the man decided to give himself up and came out peacefully, Gallagher said.
When police checked, they found and confiscated seven guns, including several long rifles.
Barack was taken to Fairview Hospital for evaluation by medical officials and later released.
Gallagher said officers were called to the scene again about 5:30 Saturday morning.
“He apparently had gone up on the roof and was shooting at a neighbor’s dog,” he said. “The mother and father weren’t home, so he hadn’t caused any problems with them. They just thought it better they not be there when he got home.”
No one was injured in either incident.
Gallagher said there were no similar incidents found on records for Barack. A check of Rocky River Municipal Court records did show a half-dozen traffic offenses.