UPDATE: Standoff Suspect Undergoing Mental Evaluation; Name Released

By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 10/26/13 @ 10:10 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – A man accused of firing up to two dozen shots inside an apartment building during a five-hour standoff with police in Portsmouth is now undergoing a mental evaluation.

The standoff happened at the Hudson House, a high-rise apartment complex owned by the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority. Police say John Locher, 63, is a former combat veteran with no prior criminal history. He’s accused of firing 20 to 25 rounds into the apartment of a woman across the hall, who called 911 just before 11 a.m. Saturday.

“The resident who called was in her apartment, unable to come out of the apartment,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “Our dispatcher did a really good job of staying on [the] line with her.”

Ware said the Portsmouth Fire Department got that woman out of her apartment through the window on the fifth floor, where both she and Locher live. The woman was not hurt but was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

“He's going to come out of that apartment, dead or alive,” Linda Grunit, who lives at the Hudson House, said Saturday. “They've got SWAT team up there, they've got – I've never seen so many officers in one place.”

About 4:30 p.m., Locher did come out of the building – alive, on a gurney, surrounded by police, EMS workers and the negotiators who were able to calm him down after several hours.

Ware said Locher will be given a mental health evaluation at the hospital. He said felony charges are likely, since Locher is accused of firing shots into an apartment.

People who live at the Hudson House said it was a tense situation.

“Somebody knocked on my door and told me I had to leave, you know, and I had no idea until I got downstairs,” Dotty Cochran said.

Grunit pointed up at her apartment window on the seventh floor, where her husband Gustav waved back at her. She said the fifth floor was evacuated, but other floors were told they should leave. However, some people did not.

“Some cannot come out because of their health conditions, and some now can't come out because the elevator has been stopped,” Grunit said.

Chief Ware expressed appreciation for the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority staff for helping police throughout the standoff and to the neighbors at the Hudson House for “cooperating in a situation that obviously caused them a great deal of concern and inconvenience.” He also thanked the different agencies involved in defusing the standoff, including officers from Portsmouth Police, Portsmouth Fire Department, Scioto County Sheriff’s deputies and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers.

“You never want to need [these officers], but it's nice to know that they're there and that they are good at the job they do,” Peggy Rice, executive director of the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority, said.

Neighbors were back in their apartments by 5:00 p.m.

“A peaceful resolution,” Ware said. “So many of these incidents turn out in a negative way, and today we were fortunate.”

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/26/13 @ 6:45 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Police have released the name of the man who they say fired dozens of rounds inside an apartment building, Saturday.

The suspect, John Locher, 63, is a former combat veteran. Police say he has no prior criminal history.

Locher is accused of firing 20 - 25 rounds into a woman's apartment just before 11:00 a.m.

It wasn't until nearly 4:30 p.m. that police were able to get Locher out of the building.

He was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

Neighbors were back in their apartments by 5:00 p.m.

UPDATE 10/26/13 @ 4:30 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The standoff at the Hudson House in Portsmouth has come to an end.

The man accused of firing shots inside the Municipal Housing Authority building is now in custody.

The suspect left the scene in an ambulance. His name and condition have not been released.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 10/26/13 @ 1:33 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio State Highway Patrol says shots have been fired at the Hudson House in Portsmouth, Ohio.

It happened just after 11:30 a.m.

Troopers are still on scene.

Hudson House is a 7 story Portsmouth Municipal Housing Authority building.

One woman has been transported to the hospital, but firefighters say they don't think she was injured.

Residents were evacuated but have since been allowed back in the lobby.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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