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Published: Friday, 7/27/2007

Danbury Township man arrested after 5 homes are evacuated

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio - Ottawa County authorities evacuated at least five homes to deal with a reported barricaded, suicidal gunman yesterday, but found that the man left his gun in a bedroom and slipped out the door before they arrived.

Thomas Owens, 36, of Danbury Township was found in a wooded area about 300 yards from his duplex on Miami Street about three hours after his fiancee called 911, township police Chief Mike Meisler said.

Mr. Owens was booked into the Ottawa County jail last night on charges of inducing panic, obstructing official business, and domestic violence.

His fiancee called 911 about 12:30 p.m. from the driveway of the duplex they share near Danbury High School, saying that Mr. Owens hit her in the face and was in the bedroom with a loaded gun threatening to kill himself, Chief Meisler said.

Mr. Owens knew he was wanted by authorities; he talked briefly on the phone to a sheriff's negotiator shortly after his fiancee called 911, the chief said.

But before authorities arrived, Mr. Owens left the duplex that he and his fiancee have shared since April, the chief said.

Authorities did not realize that until they sent the sheriff's dog and special response team into the house.

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