Thursday, March 14, 2024

Short Standoff Ends Peacefully in Butler Township

A short standoff in Lavelle on the weekend ended peacefully with a man being taken into custody for a mental health evaluation.

According to court papers, on Sunday, March 10, 2024, Butler Township Police responded to a distress call from a female juvenile reporting assault by her father, later identified as 49-year-old, Michael M. Walnock, upon her mother, at a home on Dutch Road in Lavelle.

Butler Township Patrolman Raymond Horan, arrived at the home to find the victim and her daughter in a pickup truck, a short distance from their home. 

The victim reported that her husband had slammed a door onto her right hand, causing severe swelling and pain. Emergency Medical Services were called to the scene, and the victim was transported to Shamokin Hospital for immediate treatment, accompanied by her daughter.

Upon the victim's request, she expressed the need for her husband's arrest, stating her belief that he was still inside their residence.

Efforts to communicate with Walnock inside the residence were met with resistance. Despite multiple attempts to make contact, including the use of a loudspeaker radio, Walnock refused to engage with law enforcement. 

Due to concerns about prior police encounters involving firearms, Butler Township Lieutenant Shawn Butler advised treating Walnock as a barricaded subject and contacted State Police for potential assistance.

Further attempts to communicate with Walnock via phone were made, with varying success. Eventually, Butler Township Chief Christopher Hand managed to speak with him directly. During this interaction, Walnock expressed the need for mental health assistance.

After the situation was defused, the victim provided a written statement at the Butler Township Police Station. She recounted the events leading to her injury, alleging that Walnock had not only caused her physical harm but also exhibited aggressive behavior towards her.

Walnock was transported by Butler Township Police to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Butler Township Police charged Walnock with criminal attempt to commit aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct.  As of March 14th, 2024,  Walnock has not been arraigned on the above charge.