A man and woman, both of whom were wanted on bench warrants, held police at bay for more than three hours Thursday by climbing onto a third-story roof at their home at 217 South Ave., located on the corner of Pike Street in Bradford.
Bradford City Police Chief Chris Lucco said the couple, Ryan Johnston and Christine Hamilton, no ages available, told police they didn’t have weapons and refused to come down for officers, despite several requests to do so.
During the incident, which began sometime after 6 p.m. and didn’t end until both crawled in a window at 10:10 p.m., police were heard yelling up to the couple to come down peacefully, to which they refused.
“The pair came down on their own, they were finally talked off the roof and taken into custody without incident,” Lucco said.
“We believe they were using methamphetamines,” the chief added. “Contrary to social media reports, there were no firearms involved at all.”
Lucco confirmed the pair had outstanding bench warrants from elsewhere in Pennsylvania. “They weren’t for anything major,” he said of the charges for which the warrants had been issued.
While the pair did not threaten anyone throughout the course of the incident, they did make statements regarding self-harm.
This occurred when Hamilton yelled to police, “If you come up on this roof, I’ll jump.”
At one point during the evening, the couple also yelled to police they were taking meth, and asked for soft drinks if they came down. Hamilton also asked if she could take a shower if she came off the roof.
As the evening rolled on, a light rain began and thunder and lightning could be seen in the distance. Throughout the night, Johnston stood up several times on one part of the roof, and grabbed behind him for support when he appeared to be off-balance.
A police negotiator then yelled to the couple, “You don’t want to be up there when the storm rolls in, it’s a slate roof.”
At another juncture in the negotiations, Hamilton demanded to see her parole officer, which police said wasn’t possible during the evening hours. She was also told by police she would be treated professionally and decently by them when she and her partner gave themselves up.
At 9:25 p.m., Hamilton disappeared from sight from the South Avenue side of the home, with the speculation that she was crawling into a window that faced Pike Street. Moments later, however, her partner pulled her back up to the top of the roof, for some reason.
Apparently frustrated, one officer then yelled, “Be rational, there is no way out except to surrender.”
Lucco said about a dozen officers from the city, Bradford and Foster townships and the Lewis Run-based state police, as well as the Bradford City Fire Department, were on the scene for about three hours while the pair were on the roof.
“They are in custody and will be remanded to jail on the warrants,” Lucco said late Thursday night of the couple. “Multiple charges will be filed stemming from tonight’s incident.”
He said South Avenue was closed for at least some of the time during the course of the incident. A number of neighbors stood on South Avenue and Pike Street sidewalks and porches to watch as the incident continued.