A man was taken into custody after allegedly firing shots at law enforcement officers as his house he lit afire burned to the ground Thursday.
Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry said Lloyd Hicks, 72, was taken into protective custody to talk to Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services.
He was taken from Seneca County Sheriff's Office, where he talked to representatives of Firelands, to Mercy Tiffin Hospital and was to be taken to a mental health facility in Toledo when he was cleared. Once he is released, he is to be brought back to Seneca County Jail, Eckelberry said.
Eckelberry said Hicks was charged with domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
"Additional criminal charges are (going to) be filed on him," he said.
Eckelberry said Hicks indicated to Deputy Mark Lawson he set the fire, and his wife also indicated he set it.The fire destroyed his one-story residence at 6681 N. CR 29.
An initial call about a domestic argument between Hicks and his wife, Donna, was placed around 11 a.m. Donna returned home from work to eat lunch, and an argument ensued, Eckelberry said.
"He felt this was his only option," the sheriff said.
Eckelberry said Hicks' wife reported the fire after driving to Bellevue and said her husband had set it on fire before she left. He had tried to drag her back into the house, but she was able to escape, he said.
Hicks' wife suffered bruises from the assault and was treated at The Bellevue Hospital. Hicks sustained minor injuries from the fire, Eckelberry said.
Sgt. Scott Beier said the fire was reported by a county garage employee at 12:56 p.m.
Eckelberry said Lawson was the first officer at the scene and located Hicks behind the residence, near a shelter. Hicks was sitting in a chair in the yard, between the house and cornfield, in a location where he could watch his house burn, he said.
Lawson reported shots were fired shortly after he arrived. The shots were from a Springfield 45, the sheriff said.
Eckelberry said Hicks shot in the general direction of Bellevue Police Department officers and twice in Lawson's direction. He recalled Lawson saying, "I could see the barrel."
"He's OK," he said.
Beier arrived after Lawson and tried to negotiate with Hicks to put down the gun, the sheriff said.
Eckelberry said Hicks asked deputies to leave during the negotiation process, which lasted about 45 minutes.
"We told him we couldn't do that," he said. "To meet him halfway, we told him to put the gun down and go to the shelter."
The gun then went from Hicks' lap to under his chin, Eckelberry said.
As two deputies had their rifles ready, Hicks told deputies he would put down his gun if they would put down their guns. The deputies put down their guns, and Hicks followed.
"He said if it had been a few more seconds, he would have taken his life," Eckelberry said.
Eckelberry said the house burned during the negotiation process, making it difficult for the deputies to hear Hicks. He said a public address system was used to communicate with Hicks.
"We could feel the heat coming off of it," Eckelberry said about the fire.
Crews had to let the house burn until Hicks gave up, and firefighters and emergency medical technicians were staged down the road, north of the house, during the negotiating process, he said.
There were guns and ammunition in the house, and it could be heard popping, he said.
"The gun cabinet was located in the basement," he said.
State fire marshal's office personnel will be at the scene today, Beier said.
Personnel from Bellevue fire and EMS, Bellevue and Green Springs' police departments, Huron and Sandusky counties' sheriff's offices, and State Highway Patrol assisted at the scene.
Eckelberry expressed appreciation for the firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement from other agencies and said he thought they did a great job.
"Everybody walked away OK," he said. "That's always a good day."
- Staff Writer Erika Handru contributed to this article.