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Cops: Seward man taken into custody after standoff with state police

October 6, 2018

A 54-year-old Seward man was taken into custody about noon Thursday on firearm-related charges after a brief standoff with state police.

James Michael Jr. had been wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for hearings on multiple criminal charges, including illegal possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm without a license, stemming from a driving under the influence arrest Feb. 3 by Ligonier Township Police.

“What happened is that the sheriff’s deputies had attempted multiple times to reach Mr. Michael for failure to appear in court for scheduled hearings, but he wouldn’t answer his door and they sought our warrant team assistance,” said state police spokesman Trooper Stephen Limani.

When the state police warrant team went to Michael’s residence in Seward Thursday morning, Limani said Michael again didn’t answer his door “although we had every reason to believe he was in there.”

As a precaution, due to Michael being previously charged with firearm-related complaints, troopers opted to call in members of the state police Special Emergency Response Team and blocked several streets in the vicinity of the residence including Route 56, Limani said.

“Michael was taken into custody without incident about noon,” Limani said.

In addition to the firearms complaints and driving under the influence of alcohol, Michael is charged with possession of marijuana, driving without a license and driving an unregistered vehicle following the traffic stop near the intersection of Routes 259 and 30, according to online court records. Township police said Michael was not permitted to possess a firearm because of two prior burglary convictions.

He was taken to the Westmoreland County Prison.

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