ATF Sieges Empty House

Ragnar Danneskjold, in a message forwarded to Libernet, reported that the ATF mistakenly conducted a 12-hour siege of an empty house.

Around 6 p.m. June 23, 1995, the ATF attempted to serve a search warrant at a residence in Parma, Ohio (not far from Cleveland). The man who answered their knock, a 23-year-old who lived with his parents, slammed the door in their face. Of course, what else could the ATF do but call in the tanks.

The ATF (now with the Parma SWAT teams) turned off all power in the area and made the television crews turn off their lights. Local commentators speculated that the young man was holding his parents hostage with a large stockpile of illegal weapons.

Danneskjold reported that Ted Henry of ABC affiliate WEWS Channel 5 said, "well he must have quite a stockpile of weapons for the ATF to serve a search warrant."

More than sixty officers from the ATF, Parma police and other local communities' police sieged the house all night. Bullhorns, a hostage negotiation phone, optics and such were all tried, to no avail.

Unbeknownst to the ATF, the man had already slipped out the back door.

Around 6:30 a.m. the next morning, an ATF "dynamic entry team" entered the house. The man's parents, who it seems were not even in the house much less being held hostage, gave the ATF the keys to the front door.

The ATF found neither the man nor any "large stockpile of illegal weapons." The ATF is not commenting any further on the incident, although they did say that they were only executing a search warrant, not an arrest warrant. Further, the agents that had the door slammed in their face did not have the warrant with them.