Reynoldsburg News

Police kept busy over Labor Day weekend


Two home invasions and a domestic disturbance that resulted in a response from Reynoldsburg SWAT officers -- all involving men with guns -- kept officers busy during the Labor Day weekend.

Police received a 911 call at 1:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, from David Vargo, who said he heard noises downstairs at his house in the 8000 block of Maugham Drive, near Quarry Park.

Vargo, 37, told the 911 dispatcher that he awoke when he heard what sounded like someone breaking in, so he went downstairs holding his handgun. He said he confronted "a masked man in dark clothing" who may have climbed through an unlocked rear window, according to the police report.

The officer who responded to the call said he found Vargo sitting on the staircase in the foyer of the house with a towel applied to his right shoulder.

"I assisted with first-aid and applied a gauze bandage with direct pressure to the wound," the officer wrote in the report.

Vargo told the officer that he attempted to shoot the intruder, but his .40-caliber handgun jammed. He said the burglar pointed a small-caliber handgun at him and fired one shot at close range, then left through the back door. He was last seen running toward a cornfield north of the backyard, according to the report.

Columbus police aided in the search for the suspect, by helicopter and with K-9 units, but were not able to locate him.

Vargo was taken to Grant Medical Center.

Reynoldsburg police Lt. Ron Wright said Sept. 3 that Vargo has since been released from the hospital.

"We have officers conducting a follow-up investigation," he said.

At 11:20 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30, a homeowner told police three men knocked on his front door in the 8300 block of Clear Path Drive. According to Wright, when the homeowner answered, they forced their way in and aimed handguns at him.

The man said the burglars forced him to the second floor of the apartment, where they took several items, then fled on foot.

Wright said the homeowner described the three as tall black men with slender builds. One had longer, dreadlock-style hair and another was wearing a gray shirt and khaki pants.

The third incident started at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, at a home on Marabar Drive.

Wright said a man was inside the home armed with a shotgun and reportedly making suicidal threats. The man's girlfriend was able to escape the house to call 911.

The Reynoldsburg Police SWAT team then surrounded the house. SWAT teams from several jurisdictions also responded to the scene and neighbors were evacuated from their homes.

"We were able to move people to a church parking lot, where they were well out of harm's way," Wright said.

A police negotiator talked to the man during the standoff, which ended peacefully at about 9:30 p.m. after the man spoke with a family member.

Detectives said he is being evaluated by mental-health professionals.

Wright said police will consult with the city attorney/prosecutor to see if charges will be filed.

"As in most cases like this, we determined that the man needed assistance, since he only threatened his own life, not his girlfriend's," he said.