The Akron man wore all black and a black mask.
He stowed ammunition in several spots around a Norton storage facility.
Armed with two assault rifles and a machete, David Havrilek hid between two trailers, watching and waiting.
When confronted by Norton and Barberton police officers, Havrilek fired and the officers shot back. Havrilek was injured, while the officers weren’t.
These were among the details provided Thursday morning during Havrilek’s sentencing that showed how serious the October 2017 incident was — and how easily it could have been worse.
“Only by the grace of God did not one of the officers die or get shot,” said Assistant Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel.
Baumoel called Havrilek “a fanatic militant anxious for battle.”
Troy Reeves, Havrilek’s attorney, said his client was suffering from mental and substance abuse problems and thought people were out to get him. He said Havrilek didn’t intend to harm anyone — only to protect himself.
“He was not an active shooter that day,” Reeves said.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Joy Malek Oldfield, however, noting the danger to officers and civilians — sentenced Havrilek to 19 years in prison. He faced a maximum of 25.
Havrilek, 43, pleaded guilty in August under an agreement with prosecutors to two counts of attempted murder with firearm specifications. Additional charges against him were dropped.
Numerous officers, including those involved in the incident, attended Havrilek’s sentencing, with Norton Police Chief John Dalessandro speaking on their behalf. He noted that the incident on Oct. 3, 2017, at Barber Road Storage on Barber Road happened just two days after a mass shooting in Las Vegas. He said he is glad his officers have been trained in how to respond to a situation like this and put that training to use.
“We are blessed that we are here for a sentencing — and not for a funeral for innocent victims,” the chief said.
Dalessandro urged Oldfield to send a message that leniency won’t be granted for volatile incidents like this one, which caused nearby Barberton High School and businesses to be locked down or evacuated and part of Barber Road to be shut down.
Baumoel said Havrilek was having a difficult time before this incident, with his girlfriend kicking him out of the house. He said Havrilek was in an accident earlier that day, and his truck was totaled. He got a ride to the storage facility, where he rents a unit, from an Akron officer.
Inside Havrilek’s storage unit were the weapons and ammunition he used to arm himself. Baumoel played footage from surveillance cameras that showed Havrilek placing ammunition and bottles of water in several spots around the fenced-in facility.
“He was preparing for a long, drawn-out battle,” Baumoel said.
The confrontation between Havrilek and police happened as officers were attempting to get employees of the facility and one worker’s 2-year-old daughter — who were trapped at the back of the property — to safety. The employees had alerted police after seeing Havrilek with a machete and rifle, acting erratic.
Officers spotted Havrilek between two trailers with an assault rifle aimed at them. The officers told him to drop his weapon, but he instead fired. They reciprocated, Baumoel said.
Officers found Havrilek shot several times, surrounded by two assault rifles, ammunition, a machete and three spent shell casings.
Baumoel suggested Oldfield sentence Havrilek to 18 years in prison.
Reeves, however, urged Oldfield to instead consider the minimum sentence of nine years. He said Havrilek was at the storage facility for an extended period and had other opportunities to shoot civilians and officers, but didn’t. He said his client, though, did make the decision not to surrender peacefully.
Ultimately, Reeves said, no one besides Havrilek was hurt. He said Havrilek will walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his injuries. He said his client had been drinking and may have suffered a head injury in the crash earlier that day.
Havrilek, who was found to be mentally competent, apologized to the officers and their families. He said he was paranoid because of people who made threats against him.
“I know that is no excuse for my actions,” he said. “All I can do is ask the officers and their families that were on the scene if they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
Mariann Kunkel, Havrilek’s fiancée and the mother of his three children, thinks he suffered a mental breakdown before this incident and had begun drinking and using drugs again. She said she kicked him out because of his erratic behavior. She said she doesn’t think, though, that he intended to harm anyone.
“A ‘militant fanatic’?” she asked, quoting the prosecutor. “He goes to work, comes home and plays Duck-Duck-Goose and Hide-and-Seek with his daughters.”
Oldfield said Havrilek avoided a sentence that would have been far worse if he had killed someone.
“I’m glad for you that didn’t happen,” she said.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, email@example.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.