CANTON — The man who held authorities at bay in Summit County Wednesday before a SWAT team found him hiding with five guns in a house had been involved in a chase with Canton police hours earlier.
Thomas Piispanen, 31, of Green, was arrested following a standoff at his Turkeyfoot Lake Road home, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.
Canton police say a 35-year-old New Franklin woman came to an ex-boyfriend’s friend’s home in Canton to hide because Piispanen was threatening to kill her and her children, said Capt. Dave Davis of the Canton Police Department.
“This fugitive not only posed a serious threat to the community, but also to any law enforcement officer he came into contact with,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “Due to the quick response of members of the task force and members of the SWAT team, the community and law enforcement officers are safer tonight with Piispanen off the streets.”
Canton police said they were called at 2:22 a.m. Wednesday to a home in the 2600 block of Daleford Avenue NE because Piispanen had been calling and texting death threats to the woman, her family and her former boyfriend for four days.
“New Franklin (police) called us with a possible location” of the rented 2019 Nissan Frontier that Piispanen was driving, Davis said.
Officers spotted the vehicle at 30th Street and Willowrow Avenue NE and tried to pull it over, but the driver sped away.
“They chased him for several minutes,” Davis said. But the chase grew too dangerous and city officers called it off.
Piispanen was last seen westbound on U.S. Route 30 passing Route 93 toward Dalton “at a a very high rate of speed,” Davis said.
Hours later, federal agents went to his home in the Green area because New Franklin police had warrants for his arrest on charges of burglary and aggravated menacing, according to the news release from the marshals service.
The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Crimes Task Force, Summit County Sheriff’s deputies and then the SWAT unit went to the Turkeyfoot Lake Road residence shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday. Task Force agents tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Piispanen, said Anne Murphy, public affairs officer for the Northern District.
A SWAT unit summoned to the house also could not get him to communicate with officers.
SWAT officers entered the house about 2 p.m. and found Piispanen hiding inside “in close proximity to a firearm,” she said.
They also found four other firearms throughout the house, she said.
Warrants already had been issued in Stark County for Piispanen’s arrest on charges of felony telecommunications harassment, domestic violence, failure to comply with police and two counts each of felony menacing by stalking and aggravated menacing, Stark County court records show.
Summit County court records show warrants were issued Wednesday to New Franklin police and Summit County deputies, who charged him with aggravated burglary, felony inducing panic, aggravated menacing and two counts of having weapons under disability.
Stark County records show Piispanen lived in the Massillon and Canton areas in 2007 when he was jailed for two separate incidents: He went to jail for 90 days for domestic violence and for 60 days for unlawful restraint, assault and criminal trespass.
Piispanen was convicted of domestic violence again in 2011. In 2013, he was convicted of criminal mischief after he reportedly entered a Taco Bell drive-thru in Jackson Township, ordered food and then exposed himself to the woman working at the window.
Piispanen remained in the Summit County Jail Thursday where he was held without bond pending a Barberton Municipal Court hearing.
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