Ashland standoff ends peacefully

ASHLAND — A missing man found trespassing inside an empty vacation home in the 600 block of East Main Street barricaded himself inside for more than seven hours Tuesday after spotting police searching for him outside, authorities said.

Several streets in the area were closed by 9:30 a.m. Ashland police attempted to coax the man out of the home for more than two hours before requesting assistance from members of a Medford SWAT team who entered the home and took the man into protective custody.

No criminal charges had been filed Tuesday against the man negotiators referred to as "Robert." He was transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center at about 3:30 p.m., a press release from the Ashland Police Department said.

"Can you give us a sign that you're OK? Can you open the blinds? We can't go away. We don't want to hurt anybody," a police negotiator on scene said to the man, using a megaphone while standing in an alley behind the home. "Robert, we're here to help you. Robert, you don't have to be afraid."

Police would not confirm the man's identity, or whether he was alone inside the home, and did not return numerous telephone messages Tuesday.

Ashland High School Principal Michelle Zundel sent an email to parents saying students at the high school were not in danger, as police had created a safe perimeter and detours. Her email said the man was suspected of having weapons in the home.

Police were alerted of the missing man early Tuesday, and the report included a voice mail message that was "very concerning to law enforcement as it related to the well-being and safety of other people," the Ashland police news release said.

"They won't tell us anything," said Ron Bass, a resident whose home was within the closed-off area. Bass said he didn't know whether the man was alone inside the home.

Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness said during the standoff that his department alerted Medford SWAT based on the "concerning" voice message and the man's criminal history, which the press release said included menacing with a weapon, criminal trespass, resisting arrest, driving under the influence of intoxicants, possession of marijuana, cruelty to animals, obstructing, battery of a police officer, theft and assault.

Two negotiators from Medford SWAT and counselors from Jackson County Mental Health attempted to get the man to come out of the home until about 2:40 p.m., when two teams of about six SWAT members each approached the home from its front and back armed with shields and automatic assault rifles, the release said.

Before entering, police also made numerous phone calls to the home, which were ignored by the man, the release said.

Nobody was injured in the incident, Holderness said. The release said criminal charges were expected to be filed at a later date.

East Main Street was closed at its intersection with Lithia Way to its intersection with Seventh Street. Sixth Street, and alleyways leading into the 600 block of East Main Street, also were closed during the standoff.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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