BROOKVILLE — Following a nine-hour standoff that began Sunday night, Pennsylvania State Police arrested John Wayne Kunselman, 46, of Brookville and charged him with terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, recklessly endangering another person, criminal trespass/simple trespass and harassment. He is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on $50,000 bail.
Brookville Borough police were first alerted to Kunselman at 1:30 p.m. Sunday when they responded to a call on Short Street involving a man with a rifle who was threatening to harm himself. The man fled the scene before police arrived. At 3:20 p.m. police sent out an alert for Kunselman.
According to a family member, the initial disturbance was the result an argument with his wife. After he fled, police went to the home of Kunselman’s cousin, Didi Wazelle. She says they know he has come to her before in times of distress. She had not seen or heard from him at the time but later Sunday, he arrived outside her house with his gun, asking to be let inside.
“I had already asked his mom what she wanted me to do if he showed up, and she said call the cops,” Wazelle said.
She said his mom wanted him to get the help he needed. Wazelle called the police before opening her door to him. Once he was inside, she said she got him to put his gun down. She tried to talk with him, but said he quickly realized that she had the police on the phone. At this point she said they began struggling for the gun.
“He told me I should leave so he didn’t have to hurt me, so I ran out the front door straight to a cop,” Wazelle said.
Once outside, she told the police that Kunselman was in her house and armed with his rifle.
The official call went out at 9 p.m. Brookville and Pine Creek Volunteer Fire companies were dispatched to block off Evans Street and all the roads leading to it. Brookville and state police secured the perimeter around the house to make sure Kunselman didn’t leave the property. As the night wore on, more police were brought in.
The state police Special Emergency Response Team, or SERT, arrived in vans with specialized equipment. It took hours just for all the necessary police to arrive on scene. The SERT teams cover a wide area and often have to travel from far distances. Some of the ones called in to help in Brookville were brought in from Philadelphia. Upwards of 50 police officers arrived before the night was finished.
Once all the officers were in place the police began to engage Kunselman from the street. After some time when he did not come out to police, other tactics were tried. An armored skidsteer was used to take off a screen door and to break a side window. Once it had its arm positioned inside the window the team again began to talk to Kunselman.
The standoff came to an end at 6 a.m. when after some final words from the negotiator Kunseman opened the door and peacefully left the house. He was immediately surrounded by the tactical team that had been in position.
Borough Police Chief Vince Markle said both Brookville and Pine Creek Fire companies did an excellent job controlling traffic during the situation. Roads were closed to protect citizens during the standoff. He also noted that no law enforcement nor Kunselman were injured in the standoff. Also helping on scene was the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Markle said everyone worked together as a team and noted that the state police did an “outstanding job.”
Kunselman is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9:45 a.m. June 11 before District Judge Gregory Bazylak.