Tiffin woman escapes hostage situation

A Tiffin woman was able to escape a hostage situation uninjured Wednesday evening at a store in Willard.

JoAnn Sarver said she was shopping at Family Dollar, 403 W. Walton St., around 5 p.m. when a man wearing camouflage and several layers of clothing entered the store and ordered a female worker to barricade the doors.

Sarver, who works in Willard and often shops at Family Dollar, said she tried to remain calm and continued to talk to a woman behind the cash register as the door was being barricaded.

The man, who was holding what looked like a rifle, told the three women he was going to kill them, Sarver said. He even held the gun to them, she said.

Sarver said to convince the man to let her go, she told him she didn’t have much money and that she would miss work.

The man, however, did not want money, she said. He told the women he wanted to send a message and that he would kill them, videotape it and put it on Facebook. Sarver said he took one of the women’s phones to use Facebook.

She said the man, whom she described as in his 30s, allowed her to keep her phone. While in the store, she called 911 numerous times, she said. Unable to describe the situation to the dispatcher in front of the man, Sarver said she tried to find ways to get the dispatcher to send help, including telling the dispatcher that were problems with her vehicle at Family Dollar. The dispatcher, who thought Sarver was trying to prank-call the police department, told her that she would be arrested if she kept calling, Sarver said. Unable to get help from the police department, Sarver then called her ex-husband and tried the same tactics. He caught on and contacted police, she said.

“I was scared, I just wanted to get the cops there,” Sarver said.

Sarver said after police arrived, the man told her that she was going to deliver his message. He then allowed her to leave the store.

Sarver, who was uninjured, said she did not hear the man’s message.

According to the city of Willard’s Twitter page, a hostage exited the rear of the store just past 8 p.m. and told police that the gunman had shot the other hostage. Police were then able to enter the store by breaking the front windows.

A spokeswoman from the Willard Police Department said Wednesday night that the man had shot the woman before turning the gun on himself. He died of self-inflicted wounds, she said. According to the city’s Twitter page, the woman who was shot was transported to Mercy Willard Hospital and then taken elsewhere by Life Flight. She died shortly later, the page states.

The gunman has been identified as Shawn Schuett, who is originally from Mansfield.

Further information was unavailable Wednesday night.