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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Standoff suspect likely killed in barn fire

  • A man who confronted police with a rifle Monday night in Bath is presumed dead after authorities recovered a body from a burning barn, where the suspect holed up during a standoff with police.

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  • A man who confronted police with a rifle Monday night in Bath is presumed dead after authorities recovered a body from a burning barn, where the suspect holed up during a standoff with police.
    Authorities are waiting for the body to be positively by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, but police are certain the armed suspect didn’t escape the barn before it burned to the ground, Steuben County Sheriff Dave Cole said.
    The incident began shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday when a woman called police and reported she and her husband were involved in a domestic dispute. The woman removed herself from the scene before police arrived, according to the sheriff ’s office.
    When deputies and state troopers arrived at the Velie Road home, they found a man armed with a scoped rifle in the driveway. Police and the man engaged in a brief verbal altercation, after which the man retreated into a barn adjacent to the residence, police said.
    Police surrounded the barn, sparking a standoff. Police heard several gunshots come from inside the barn as police tried to regain verbal contact with the man, according to the sheriff ’s office.
    Cole said the man did not fire at police, and law enforcement officers did not fire any shots.
    The sheriff ’s Critical Incident Response Team arrived on scene and was securing an inner perimeter when police reportedly heard a muffled gunshot, followed by flames coming from the barn.
    Within minutes, the barn was engulfed in fl ames. Firefighters did not begin battling the blaze until the scene was deemed safe by police. Cole said the commanders at the scene were cognizant of the Christmas Eve incident in the Rochester suburb of Webster, where four firefighters were shot, two fatally, as they responded to a blaze.
    Cole said the entire barn was surrounded, and officers with night-vision equipment were certain the man didn’t flee the barn. Cole said the fire was “totally destructive.”
    After the fire was extinguished, members of the Steuben County Fire Investigation Team found a body in the barn. Investigators are now working to determine what caused the blaze and whether the suspect set it intentionally. Cole said officers did nothing that would have sparked the fire.
    The body was taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. Toxicology tests will be conducted to determine whether alcohol or drugs were involved, Cole said.
    The name of the suspect is being withheld, pending positive identification by the medical examiner.
    Cole said he expects more information to be available Wednesday.

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