Depressed Man has Very Active Day While Police Engage in Ten Hour “Standoff” at His Empty House

Standoff With Empty HomeAccording to Justin Holloway’s ex-boss, he had recently quit his job and was making statements about being depressed over his brother dying. He also made suicidal statements and discussed “taking people out” because he was blaming “everyone for his problems.”

Concerned about his mental state, the (unnamed) boss went to Holloway’s house to check on him. Things seemed to have taken a turn for the worst at that point. Halloway had a sawed-off shotgun sitting on the kitchen table and was in the process of taping quarter sticks of dynamite to aerosol cans. He was also making statements (presumably under his breath) about “not wanting to see tomorrow” and not wanting some other people to either.

Justin Halloway SayreFortunately, he convinced Justin to put down the explosives and go grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, a fire siren went off as they were heading to the restaurant. That sent Halloway right back into the “taking people out” mood and he ran into the house again. At that point, the Boss decided he better get some other people with shotguns and explosives involved.

The Sayre (Pennsylvania) Police Department wasted little time springing into action. According to WBNG Channel 12 Action News:

Shortly after, police secured the area outside Holloway’s home. Robert Packer Hospital was placed on lock down, nearby streets were shut down and a farmers market was evacuated…

Police believed Holloway barricaded himself inside, but all attempts to contact him failed. Holloway had plastic or sheets over his windows, so police could not see inside. Several windows were broken to get a view inside the home. After that was done, police noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from Holloway’s bedroom.

By 5 p.m., a Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team entered the house, only to find Holloway wasn’t inside.

Meanwhile, as the cops were busy smashing out windows and in general attempting to antagonize a guy who they thought was busy strapping dynamite to pressurized canisters and finalizing his list of people he wanted to make sure didn’t see the sun rise again, Halloway was out having quite a day.

Standoff Empty HomeApparently, at some point after bailing out on the lunch plans with the boss, he became spooked by an old paramedic putting gloves on outside and then saw the “barrel of an assault rifle pointed toward his house.” The combination of those two things made him come to the realization that he should get out of the house for a while, after all.

According to a statement he later gave police, he then bolted out the back door, jumped the fence, and fled into the woods. Then he walked 20 miles to the nearby town of Owega, got bored (presumably), and began running back home. (The concern that he may have left the oven on as a motivation for running back is an unconfirmed rumor, at this time.)

Luckily for him, a stranger saw him running and picked him up. He apparently had gotten over his paramedic phobia by then. So, he had the Good Samaritan drop him off at the fire station in Milltown (about 15 minutes from his house). Once he got there, the firemen were kind enough to tell him that all the cops in town were down the road trying to convince him to come out of his house, which apparently was a bit of a surprise to him.

Standoff Empty HouseSoon thereafter, he found himself in jail charged with making terrorist threats, possessing weapons of mass destruction, and having drug paraphernalia. The police stated they found a sawed-off shotgun, ammunition, powder believed to be Tannerite Powder, a metal pipe for marijuana, fireworks and a camouflage pellet gun with a scope, but no mention of dynamite encased spray cans.

Although he admitted to having “personal issues” that had upset him very much that day, Justin denied making any threats to harm himself or anyone else. Also, on the upside, Halloway’s sister spoke to police and said that their brother is not in fact dead, but was in the hospital recovering from a stroke and was “getting better everyday.”

So, what a day that was…

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes.
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  • Ricky Raduda

    Ok, so losing the guy running out of the back of the house, depending on the circumstances, may not have been great, but what do you people expect the police to do if someone tells them a suicidal man has a sawed-off shotgun (a felony under state and federal law), is making IEDs, and has made threats about killing people? If they would have immediately barged in, possibly resulting is a gun fight, then then would have been aggressive, trigger-happy, and failures at de-escalation. If they did nothing and the guy hurt people, then they would have been failing in their duties. If they would have knocked on the door -like officer friendly- and gotten shot, then they are stupid. How exactly would all of you experienced police tacticians handle this situation different/better?

  • dingus

    Give him a job. Stay with him. Call his family and friends before police.

  • Shawn

    Have to wonder if the boss exaggerated the story a bit. You want a quick response by cops? Pile the shit high.

    Hope the novelty of owning a sawed off was worth it though. The terroristic stuff likely won’t stick, if the boss is the only source, but that shotgun will. Dumbest reason to go to jail.

  • Pw4x3r

    In America: ALL freedoms are lost with a simple phone call……………….. You see nothing wrong with this……. LoL… OK…..

  • mioman

    the shotgun might not hurt either as long as its 18 1/2″ it ok.. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  • mioman

    10 hours now thats funny

  • Ricky Raduda

    I agree with Dingus; the guy making the report (espically if he exaggerated) is more of a problem than the police response. Furthermore, we don’t know if it was a phone call or visit in person, but with what was reported to police, does it matter? Pw4x3r, would you want the police to not investigate a report that your suicidal neighbor has illegally modified firearms, was making bombs, and threatened to kill people? If it turned out the original guy who made the report lied, he can then be arrested for filing a false police report. Being that he wasn’t arrested, the arrested person’s family stated that he has some problems, and a sawed-off shot gun was found, it seems that original report might have some creditability.

  • nonya business

    He had a job. Depression doesnt equal unemployed, moron.

  • Brea Plum

    I expect them to confirm that 1) there is a man in the house and 2) that he has said weapons.

  • whoopsydoodoo

    I didn’t see anything in the article about police having a warrant to search the property. Seems like anything they collected inside the house is inadmissible

  • Ohreally

    Seems like people are missing a crucial point in defending the cops on this one: they didn’t successfully do anything to prevent a potentially deadly situation they were fully ‘aware’ of. If the guy had actually been plotting something he’d have been out the back of the house with bombs and a gun.

    “How exactly would all of you experienced police tacticians handle this situation different/better?”

    How about establishing a fucking perimeter for starters?

  • ¥

    I see the boss and the police paying out alot of money and serving jail time…

  • Peter Geller

    You don’t know that he doesn’t own the short barreled shotgun legally. I wouldn’t take the polices word for what they found inside. Especially after being made fools….

  • Nicholas VanLandingham

    Once they smelled that marajuana thay had everything they needed. You can thank the patriot act for the dissapearence of your fourth amendment.

  • David Poladian

    Well, actually, they had a report that this guy was suicidal and homicidal and that he was making bombs in his home. I’m thinking courts would say the exigent circumstances justified the entry. If the items they found were in plain sight, then the courts will say they are okay to be used as evidence.

  • Tony Mitchell

    Cops smelling marijuana is like the concept of God. It can neither be proven nor dis proven

  • David Poladian

    I notice you didn’t answer the question. You are all complaints about the problem, but no solution. I’ve seen too many videos and read too many articles about police entering homes or detaining people simply because they got a call and every time I thought – gee, if I get into a fight with a neighbor, all they have to do to disrupt my life is make a simple call and say they heard yelling and it sounded like it might be a “domestic” issue. That’s just wrong, but what’s the alternative? I honestly don’t know. I do agree with dingus below, the former boss may have fallen down on his job as a friend.

  • David Poladian

    Which they would do by trying to contact him inside the house and eventually they broke into the house to confirm this information. Sooooo, you’d expect them to do exactly what they did.

  • David Poladian

    Which they would do by trying to contact him inside the house and eventually they broke into the house to confirm this information. Sooooo, you’d expect them to do exactly what they did.

  • David Poladian

    I agree with you too, just as Ricky does, but the former boss didn’t do this, he called the police, what should the police have done differently?

  • David Poladian

    Why exactly?

  • David Poladian

    Well according to the article, he had recently quit his job, so it is not unreasonable to think he may be unemployed now. He may very well be employed currently, but concluding from this article that he may be unemployed does not make one a moron. Depression does not equal unemployed, but unemployment can lead to and/or exacerbate depression, so dingus’s suggestion that a way to help this guy, Justin, would be to give him a job is a reasonable one and again the suggestion doesn’t make him a moron. I think you may have missed the point of dingus’s comment, which was that maybe the ex-boss could have/should have done more to help Justin instead of just calling the police. Missing this obvious point in such a short and clear comment might make you a moron, but I don’t think it would be right to judge you as a person based solely on one comment, plus name calling is childish.

  • David Poladian

    Well according to the article, he had recently quit his job, so it is not unreasonable to think he may be unemployed now. He may very well be employed currently, but concluding from this article that he may be unemployed does not make one a moron. Depression does not equal unemployed, but unemployment can lead to and/or exacerbate depression, so dingus’s suggestion that a way to help this guy, Justin, would be to give him a job is a reasonable one and again the suggestion doesn’t make him a moron. I think you may have missed the point of dingus’s comment, which was that maybe the ex-boss could have/should have done more to help Justin instead of just calling the police. Missing this obvious point in such a short and clear comment might make you a moron, but I don’t think it would be right to judge you as a person based solely on one comment, plus name calling is childish.

  • Brea Plum

    “Eventually”. How many hours later was that “eventually”?

    Nope, stupid.

  • David Poladian

    Oh, so you are saying they should have broken into his home SOONER. You don’t have a problem otherwise? Well then I agree with you.

  • Marie

    This happened a few blocks from my house. This guys being charged with so much shit that he didn’t even do. The police were a joke, bringing in wildlife and fish services. The journalist writing the original story (that was shown on TV and the local papers) needs a lesson in distance too, milltown is only a mile from the guys house (3 minute drive on a busy day) , not the 10 and fifteen minutes they reported.

  • Pw4x3r

    The simple answer is ‘anything other than what they did.’ For any jackass to be able to do this to someone with a simple phone call is inherently wrong. Period. To move on to specific details on what actions are supposed to be taken, I’ll try for one random: Not what they did. So we think a guy is barricaded inside his house making bombs…… Here’s your solution…. You let him. If you’re really that concerned, or think you have a real problem, you can wait for him to come outside of his house with the supposed bombs… since you don’t actually know he’s there to begin with… and you really don’t know what’s happening, it’s best not to pretend we have Minority Report technology when we really don’t….

  • Pw4x3r

    Investigation is exactly what I would want them to do… Not a militarized raid on a home with ZERO physical evidence.

  • Pw4x3r

    Investigation is exactly what I would want them to do… Not a militarized raid on a home with ZERO physical evidence.

  • Pw4x3r

    Investigation is exactly what I would want them to do… Not a militarized raid on a home with ZERO physical evidence.

  • Pw4x3r

    If I called the police and claimed you had child pornography, threatened to kill people, were dealing drugs, assaulted your wife and stole some things from some stores in town…. The police find only ONE of the things I told them….. (We’ll say I got lucky)… Then it’s OK because out of everything I told them, there was one thing. The why is very simple: to prevent pure insanity from taking over.

  • David Poladian

    Oh, I thought you might actually have a constructive comment, but you only offer 1. sit outside the house, potentially forever or 2. do nothing at all.

    Thing is, my house is my castle and I don’t want police or gov’t in here EVER. However, if I’m making bombs in my kitchen and telling my friends I’m depressed, don’t want to see tomorrow and don’t want others to see tomorrow either, well if I want to live in a society with other human beings, then I have to expect police to take action. I may not like what that action looks like (which is why I’m asking others what alternatives there are), but at some point, I’ve got to accept that there are consequences for my actions and behavior.

  • David Poladian

    After reading this story, do you honestly believe the ex-boss acted out of malice? The ex-boss already did more to try to help the situation then I think many people would have – he went over to check on him, convinced him to go out to lunch, basically tried to be a friend – however I still say maybe he could have/should have done more before involving the police. But in THIS scenario, given the facts presented in this article, I don’t think the ex-boss is in anyway culpable.

  • mioman

    thats why they/cops use it

  • mioman

    i think she means to check it out to start with like knocking on the door first / investagating / confirm things like that … i might be wrong tho

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    They ain’t the sharpest tools in the shed.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Actually, the smell of marijuana does not give them the right to access your property. This is stated law.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Yep, I hunt with an 18 and a half inch .223 Thompson Center. Perfect backpack and motorcycle rifle.

  • We Hobson

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Fourth has disappeared; I do agree, however, it has become a sort of rubber band that law enforcement and the courts will stretch as far as they have to to make certain outcomes. The Horton v Cal and Coolidge v New Hampshire make for good reading as starting points in analyzing the situation.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Several unmarked cars around the block would have spotted him leaving or coming home. Thousands upon thousands of dollars would have been saved. Pigs are just fucking retarded morons with gunpowder powered toys.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    The law is fucked up, it should take far more than a call from your neighbor to get swatted. I hope he will start taking these SWAT teams out, and leave their bloody burned carcasses around for the next pigs to pick up. The only good pig is a dead pig.

  • Shanasmiles

    And i love how they smelled “a strong odor of marijuana” but only found a marijuana pipe and no actual marijuana.

  • Shanasmiles

    Use the little RC wheeled vehicle or tiny drone with cameras…they broke the windows, its not like there wasno way in…

  • dingus

    Until a crime (a true, natural crime with an actual victim) has been committed there’s little to be done by police as they are trained currently. When a person calls the police, they make the police aware of their concern and it should be noted, just made aware of the caller’s concern. Kinda like how they don’t go searching for lost people right away, but give it some time. And the police, with their ability to use contact technology could alert family or… I think there’s a place for a basic human crisis group of really great folks who would negotiate/mediate unarmed if respected and enabled. Lots of us will do the work, would love to, if it’s genuine. In such a system, there’s likely to be less crisis to begin with. We’re a country making this up as we go along, since there’s been no other so well armed in modern times. The current MO is built on greed though, ultimately. Even firefighters, ems, utilities turn folks in for things they see and make life bad for folks. Until that militant, tax enforcer, tattle-tale attitude is heavily checked then we’re gonna have mucho strife. Step #1 here is to end the drug war entirely which includes economic freedom from FDA, IRS, DEA, etc. The drug war certainly fanned the flame under this little campy fire.

  • dingus

    Everybody is so jumpy and ready for war.

  • dingus

    But that would violate other’s rights, and all based on suspicion resulting from a third party’s inability to assist. It would still cost. It still leads down the same path. I really think the drug war mentality/dichotomy is the issue in majority of cases.

  • jose0311usms

    POT ??? Is legal in many States and is a misdemeanor..

  • Trauma
  • Trauma
  • Dan Fleming

    In the case of someone possibly having explosives, and making threats it is a no brainer. You storm the house no doubt about it. As for his supposed friend I don’t ever fully trust everything I read nor should you. I will state that there are people who will support cops no matter how grossly inept or incompetent they perform. They didn’t secure the house as they are trained to do, so they guy left out his back door. The second act of incompetacne was it took ten hours for them to figure out the house was empty. If any other profession had people display this level of performance not only would they be out of work, they would be dead because they forgot to inhale and thus suffocated.

  • jregan67

    So there’s a credible tip from a friend of the suspect who didn’t just hear something, but was in the home and saw this stuff for himself and your answer is do nothing. Or I guess it is that the overtaxed home owner should have taxes raised considerably to pay for an elite group of negotiators that the community might need once in a lifetime.

    I think the decision to go into the house should be 1. Made by a judge, 2. Be based on the credibility of the source.

    But the idea that you do nothing is insane!

  • jregan67

    Whose rights would be violated? When did we establish the RIGHT not to have police in our neighborhoods? Maybe the drug war is influencing your own evaluation of this situation – we’re not talking about an accusation the the guy is in his house rolling a joint or even weighing bags for sale to others, we’re talking about an accusation coming from a concerned friend that witnessed the explosives and the intent to do harm.

  • DeadPigGoodPig

    Get rid of the war on drugs and watch the statistics change. I agree the War on Drugs has been an absolutely terrible idea, and it has been used to militarize the police force. All police forces should be disbanded, and private ones should be set up neighborhood by neighborhood.

  • Dana Lo

    lots of things smell like pot. the “smell test” has been shot down in supreme court many times , and will keep being “shot” down. also note , supreme court rules this year(2015) that the “smell test” is not admissible in court for reason to detain or search a “vehicle” hence , your home is also “personal” property.

  • Ricky Raduda

    You are saying what, not how…How exactly would the police do that without putting themselves at risk for being shot on the front porch. Just seeing police on his porch could send him over the edge. Are there other people in the house? What if he did start shooting? I acknowledge that they failed to see him run out….Shame on them! Still, how are they going to “confirm” that while safely answering those questions and not violating any rights??

  • Ricky Raduda

    How exactly would you have done this better? There are no gun databases that definitely show gun ownership, and he could have illegally obtained one off the grid anyway. They apparently have an eyewitnesses that came to them they interviewed about the subject. You want more tax money wasted doing surveillance and put the public at risk just to see if he going to commit any crimes? Maybe watiting for him outside, but now you have an armed nut in a car also putting the public at risk. Other than knocking on the door and stupidly getting shot or SKYPE-ing him to see how he feeling, what else should they have done to get more info?

    Like it or not, there are people on death row with the same amount, if not less, evidence than the police had that he was homicidal and armed with illegally modified firearms/bombs before getting to the house. A real militarized raid would have had the police instantly going inside and shooting it out if needed. They used time and de-escalation (something you guys are always crying about the police not doing) to get him to turn himself in without gunfire. And, yes, losing him out the backdoor needs to be better, but I would think you guys would be happy the way
    this went otherwise.

  • Pw4x3r

    You really want to go dollar for dollar on surveillance versus the number of people and the property damage and the rest of the fallout that took place here? You’re even remotely serious? Rofl….. Yeah. Surveillance is exactly what the fuck needs to happen if they *think* there is a threat. Your tax dollars are going to million dollar fucking lawsuits. Spend it properly in the first fucking place and this type of shit wont happen as often. This is very, very simple.

  • Ricky Raduda

    Brilliant, instead of containing the threat, let’s have police sit on him to see if he’s going to do something. I mean, if dozens of police couldn’t see him running out the back, this Big Brother-esk, surreptitious team (in a rural PA environment yet) will have no problem keep him under tabs
    without being seen (For how long; who knows?!) I sure if something goes wrong with this great plan, police crybabies won’t look for a lawsuit for taxpayer money, either.

  • Pw4x3r

    Who said they don’t need to be seen? Having them hide would defeat the purpose…. You just have a very different way of looking at things.