PAINESVILLE – Despite repeated efforts to communicate with a Madison Township man, a six-hour standoff ended with the man being fatally shot when he left his home and charged SWAT officers while armed in the early morning of April 6.
During a news conference held at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Painesville the afternoon of April 6, Sheriff Dan Dunlap and Madison Township Police Chief Matt Byers briefed news media on the events.
“First thing I want to say is that this is the situation that every police officer dreads …,” Byers said.
He said 911 received a call from the wife of Benjamin Ailstock, 38, of 1558 Hazel Ave. about a domestic fight and dispatched officers about 10:24 p.m. April 5. When they arrived, they found the wife in the neighbor’s yard.
When the officers knocked at the residence, Ailstock opened the door with a handgun which he refused to put down. Instead he retreated and closed the door.
Calls placed to Ailstock were unanswered.
“Mr. Ailstock is known to be a convicted felon, not legally allowed to possess firearms,” Byers said.
Previous charges include robberies in two states, assault, domestic violence reduced to persistent disorderly conduct and drugs. He also has a history of being a persistent habitual drinker.
Additional officers were called to assist from Madison Village, North Perry Village and Perry Village.
It was also determined the man had just been released from the hospital after being treated for depression the day before.
“Ultimately a perimeter was placed around the residence and all the nearby neighbors were evacuated,” Byers said.
Since Ailstock still refused to respond to calls, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and asked for assistance from the SWAT Team about 11:30 p.m.
The armored vehicle and SWAT officers were deployed.
Efforts to speak with Ailstock continued without success since he refused to respond.
“At no time did we put pressure, or make any inference that we would be entering the house,” Dunlap said.
The sheriff explained that in the past, the procedure was to enter the home in such circumstances, but that was no longer the case. The procedure is now to stay in place and make every effort to negotiate a peaceful surrender.
After about six hours of not getting any response, Ailstock suddenly came out of his front door, headed for the armored vehicle brandishing a handgun and went straight for the SWAT officers.
One officer fired three times hitting Ailstock center mass, in the arm and missing once.
Madison Fire District emergency personnel were on the scene and transported Ailstock to the Madison Emergency Room, but he did not survive his injuries.
The entire event is under investigation.