Greencastle stirred Tuesday morning when police with guns drawn surrounded a motel

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Police with guns drawn surrounded the Castle Green Motel Tuesday morning and then led a man away after he emerged from a second-floor room. Pennsylvania State Police and Greencastle Police, including K-9 officer Rony, were on the scene.

Word spread that police with guns drawn had surrounded a Greencastle motel Tuesday morning before it ended without incident.

Numerous law enforcement officers had guns poised at Castle Green Motel Tuesday morning, ending with a man taken into custody from a second floor room at 11:15 a.m.

Pennsylvania State Police were the lead agency on the incident. They did not return a phone call for information. Greencastle police assisted, but could not comment on the case. Calls to the state police barracks were directed to Public Information Officer Tpr. Ed Asbury.

Witnesses said Greencastle police appeared first at the parking lot of the motel and Woody’s Lounge, 671 E. Baltimore St., at approximately 10 a.m. Traffic on the main street was barricaded, with officers detouring motorists at Spring Grove Avenue and Eastern Avenue.

Three officers kneeled, with weapons drawn, in the motel parking lot adjacent to M&T Bank, and on the street. Greencastle police chief John Phillippy was stationed near the bank driveway. His officers and other PSP officers were at the perimeter on all sides. At 11 a.m., Greencastle K-9 officer Rony and his handler Keith Russell arrived, but stayed to the side of the motel. Other personnel, dressed in dark street clothes, walked across the parking lot and along the building walls at street level. A witness identified which men wore bullet-proof vests, and said the three officers on the ground were using M-16s.

The officers communicated with each other over a speaker system, with one person ordering, “Do not give any commands. Only command will be given by (unintelligible).”

At 11:15 the door to the end room opened and a male occupant emerged with his hands up. He was put on the deck and handcuffed. Police then escorted him to a patrol car. The scene was cleared shortly afterward, and Baltimore Street opened to traffic.

Nature of the situation

Rumors circulated throughout Greencastle that there was a hostage situation, a murder, a suicide and a bank robbery. No one from M&T Bank was authorized to speak about the incident.

A man who identified himself as an employee of Castle Green Motel said the whole thing was a big mistake. He knew the person who was taken away.

“He doesn’t like his wife, so he comes here to sleep. His wife called the cops and said he had a gun. They should get a divorce.”

There was no gun, the employee insisted. When the police came, they found nothing, according to the employee. In fact, the man taken into custody had called the employee and said he was OK. He would return to sleep at another time.