Months-Long Manhunt Ends with 5-Hour Stand-Off

It took a five-hour stand-off in a mobile home park to end a manhunt which had dragged on for nearly a year. Officers with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office had more than enough of Steven Wolford Jr.’s antics. They were going to end it then and there, one way or another. Wolford didn’t get things to go the way he wanted them to.

Mobile home stand-off

On Tuesday, October 26, in Wooster, Ohio, Wayne County deputies apprehended 32-year-old Steven Wolford Jr. He was not the least bit interested in going back to prison and was ready to take an armed stand. His plan was to check out for good in a blazing hail of gunfire.

The problem was he didn’t want to see his sister’s innocent dogs get hurt over his stupidity. After all, look what Steven Seagal and Sheriff Joe Arpaio had done to that puppy with a tank.

Captain Doug Hunter has been all over the airwaves explaining the incident, when he wasn’t in the middle of it. Local police have stacks of paper on Wolford. They’ve known him well since he was 12.

Most recently, they had a “failure to appear warrant stemming from a felonious assault charge in December.” Before it came to a Mexican stand off at the trailer park, local police and county deputies had been chasing him around like a mouse.

Doylestown and Rittman police thought they had Wolford, when they tried to make a traffic stop in September. The only problem was that Wolford wouldn’t stop. At the time he was believed to be the passenger “in a stolen jeep.” Dash cam video shows the jeep jumping a curb at the “local gas station/convenience store.” The car thieves knew to stand on the gas. After leading police “on a high-speed chase through rural neighborhoods,” the chase was called off.

Investigating detectives soon found a clue. “That stolen vehicle was found later that day in the city of Canton and, no real surprise, another vehicle was stolen nearby that location and was eventually recovered here in Wayne County.”

Here we go again

Tuesday’s stand-off incident began just after 2 a.m. when Wooster police pulled over a vehicle. Guess who was in the passenger seat. “The female driving the vehicle did stop.” Wolford had a better idea. At the moment “the actual arrest was about to unfold, he apparently told her to drive away and lead the officers on another chase,” Sheriff Hunter declared.

They gave that one up too, in order to keep the public safe. According to his sister Charlene Stewart, “He’s a good dude, he really is. Just got his head on wrong right now.” She has a suspicion “her brother’s actions might be influenced by the use of heroin.”

The cops were unbelievably embarrassed that they were out-driven by a young woman and let their suspect escape the same way he had the last time, when he wasn’t even the one driving. That made it personal and he wasn’t going to make fools out of them again. Information “they developed,” probably by running the plate number of the girl’s car, indicated “that Wolford was at a mobile home park just outside of the city of Wooster, inside a mobile home belonging to his sister.”

Wayne County Deputies joined by the MEDWAY Drug Task Force “surrounded the trailer” and spent the next five hours negotiating. Wolford wanted to make it his last stand and commit suicide by cop. Later they found “numerous guns which were stolen from an Orrville business on August 27,” inside the trailer.

“Mr. Wolford remained inside and we received information from various sources that he was essentially saying he was not going back to prison and basically was not going to be taken alive.” Then they pulled up the SWAT-mobile.

“The armored vehicle was pulled to the front door of the mobile home and Wolford was given the ultimatum that he needed to voluntarily surrender or the home would be flooded with tear gas.” That’s what broke the stand-off. Sheriff Hunter’s body cam caught the exchange. “Woolford can be heard explaining that he surrendered because he did not want harm to come to his sisters’ dogs.” The Sheriff responded, “I’m glad we didn’t have to hurt you.” Wolford replied “I was debating it.”

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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